A chess set made with Harcourt glass, the stunning crystal introduced in 1841 by France’s storied Baccarat. Harcourt glassware and chess may seem to have nothing in common at first glance, but closer inspection reveals intriguing commonalities. Glassware invites two people to come together at a table to raise a glass in mutual enjoyment. And what is chess but two people coming together over a chessboard, picking up chess pieces and sharing the intensity of the moment? Based on this realisation, we created a chess set designed to bring the conviviality of a shared drink to playing chess.
Instead of adding any new elements to Harcourt’s distinctive style, we isolated six distinct, different elements from the glassware’s overall pattern to represent the king’s crown, the hem of the queen’s robe, the bishop’s mitre and so on, and distinguished the different chess pieces this way. The pieces’ impression changes dramatically even from subtle variations in the position and angle of cuts, and we were happily startled at the beauty of all six pieces. Our surprise was perhaps misplaced: the pieces are made from transparent and midnight blue crystal, and crystal’s multi-faceted nature makes it a talented actor, able to play all parts with convincing aplomb. The board’s crystal emphasises the transparency of the pieces, and a deep blue cross pattern on the board’s base glows through, bringing the chequerboard pattern to life. Of course, we also didn’t forget to add a dash of red, the distinctive accent of Baccarat.