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Stained-glass windows

June 11, 2016 Destination Europe No Comments Print Print Email Email

cats5The stained-glass windows on the first floor of the Mosimann Collection were inspired by the Mosimann’s club, which occupies a former Presbyterian church in London. They were crafted by tutors and students of the Stained-Glass Arts and Fine Arts College in Monthey in the Swiss canton of Valais, who based their work on two existing 1930s stained-glass bays at César Ritz Colleges in Le Bouveret where the Mosimann Collection is hosted. The College designed the windows’ decorative features such that the original motif was transposed across all nine bay windows, comprising a total of 33 stainedglass panels

The motif is made up of a large central area in transparent, colourless glass; this allows the designers to play subtly with the surrounding environment and to bathe the premises in pleasant natural light. The geometric pattern is adorned with a leafy border featuring hills and trees bearing leaves and fruit and is double-edged in yellow and red. This type of decoration is frequently used in non-religious architecture and combines adequate lighting with a bright and colourful counterpoint.


Production process

Firstly, the original motif was adapted to the proportions of the new windows. These were then drawn out to actual size on heavy-duty paper (outline only) and each piece of glass was numbered and colourcoded. This task was supervised in all its meticulous detail by Chihiro Nakamura, a tutor at the College.

The drawings were then transferred to tracing paper and cut out to produce a pattern for each of the 2800 pieces of glass required. These were made from glass stained in colours similar to the old stained-glass windows of France, Germany and the United States. The colour palette included four grey-browns, seven greens, three yellows, one blue and one colourless glass, and a number of textures and degrees of luminosity were used.

The veins of the leaves were painted using a glass paint known as ‘grisaille’ and fused on at 640 degrees. As is traditional with stained glass, the pieces were then fastened using lead dividers (known as ‘cames’) before being soldered together. A mastic was then applied to fill in any gaps between the glass and the lead, and finally the glass was cleaned.


The window frames were crafted by the Trisconi-Anchise joinery workshop in nearby Vionnaz. Metal stiffening rods were fitted to the panes during mounting for extra strength.

The two original bay windows were removed for cleaning and restoration (replacement and reinforcement of pieces).

The work took five months and allowed the students of the College, under the supervision of their tutors and alumni, to follow all the stages of the production process. ‘This prestigious project has been a fruitful and extremely inspiring experience for our students and has undoubtedly reaffirmed their decision to pursue a career in art,’ observed Guy Cristina, Director of the Stained-Glass Arts and Fine Arts College in Monthey.

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