Lorenz Bäumer – The Art of Experience
Lorenz Bäumer could have become an engineer. It is what his degree is in. He could have become a marketing executive. He is unquestionably a master marketer. He could have become a movie star. He has the looks, talent, and charisma. But, Lorenz Bäumer decided to become a world-class designer of haute joaillerie.
By Diana Zimmerman
By Diana Zimmerman
In his own words, “Jewelry should be more than art. It should be an experience.” One visit to his ultra chic salon at 19 Place Vendôme in Paris and this fact is evident. Anyone who is anyone in elite Parisian society already knows how to find him. But, it is also true that he does not always wish to be found.
You see, Lorenz Bäumer is very selective about who he designs for. His clients fly in from all over the world, and like any true artist, it is far more important to him that they have a connection to his work, than merely the means to purchase it.
He will spend hours discussing (mostly listening) to potential clients before he ever agrees to create a piece for them. With no less than five of his creations on display in the Louvre’s museum of Arts Décoratifs (three under his own name and two under a major brand), it is understandable why he is so particular.
“Creating jewelry is an individual experience,” he explains. “It must perfectly fit the individual who will wear it. To do this, I must learn as much as I can about them. Not only their favorite colors or stones, but their lifestyles, who they are. Only then will it become more than just a work of art, but something that is truly a treasured experience.”
Bäumer has taken his “experience” philosophy to its pinnacle. A stroll through the Place Vendôme, with its upscale brands ranging from haute couture to haute horlogerie, you realize that it is the perfect setting for his salon. Stepping into his studio, it is instantly apparent that this is not going to be an ordinary shopping experience.
A charming young lady, dressed entirely in black, offers a beverage of your choice that is served in fine crystal. Glancing around, you know that you are in the presence of an extraordinary designer as Bäumer’s creative expressions are not limited to his exquisite jewelry. He has personally designed an all-encompassing environment of sensory experiences for his customers as they sit and relax while exploring with him the myriad possibilities that await each new creation.
“My studio is a very important part of my overall success,” he readily admits. “No detail can be overlooked, from the way clients are greeted to their final goodbye.”
And indeed, when you spend time with Lorenz (as he prefers to be called), you realize just how adamant he is about that statement. Everything about him, from his appearance to his genuinely charming personality, defines pure class. Add to this an uncanny sense of marketing, and of course his amazing genius for creating pieces that masterfully combine a strong sense of individualism, wearable elegance with just a touch of whimsy, and you begin to understand his success.
Even his promotional material is like a collectable work of art. If his salon is très élégant, his design studio, with its fifteen high-tech workstations, is seriously state-of-the-art. Lorenz personally oversees design development and product photography of each and every piece.
Contrary to many designers, he is not from a family of jewelers. His mother was a gifted china painter for some of France’s most coveted luxury brands. Her aesthetic sense had a strong influence on Lorenz who graduated with a degree in engineering—and much to his father’s chagrin, turned to designing furniture. Jewelry ultimately caught his fancy, but without the money to create upscale pieces, he began by designing costume jewelry.
“I started at the very bottom,” he says, “and learned both the craft and the business, always with an eye towards creating my own brand.” Each time he made a little extra money, he would pour it back into his business, gradually creating more and more important pieces, and customers, many of whom now collect his work just as they would Lalique or Fabergé.
Lorenz incorporates a wide variety of materials in his pieces, from high-quality precious gemstones to tiger’s eye, rhodochrosite and jade. He is just as likely to be designing a sumptuous ear of corn that features diamonds and pearls or a vegetable bracelet with peas, grapes and all types of other légumes, as he is a luxurious diamond parure.
Bäumer often gets his inspiration from Nature. His love of surfing has inspired rings that follow the fluidity of waves swirling around a diamond or pearl, or a diamond pavé sailor’s knot that wraps itself around sea-colored gems.
When asked what his favorite piece is, he smiles. “The next piece I design.”
Always looking towards the future, he is designing a second salon that will be ultra modern. “Many of my customers want hip chic, so that is what the new salon will be.” Here, too, it is an important positioning tool for this man who never stops searching for ways to provide exceptional experiences to his clients – a trend that, as Gilmore and Pine state in their best selling book The Experience Economy, is “the future of all industry.”
There are so many lessons that can be learned from observing Lorenz Bäumer that it is impossible to mention everything in a single article. Perhaps he, too, will one day write a bestseller about The Art of the Experience. (www.lorenzbaumer.com)