From the beginning, we knew Martin+Mo called for glasses to round out the Party Box and TableObject offerings. The American glass-blowing community is rich with talented artisans with varied inspirations, techniques, and styles. But, we were stumped that none seemed to speak to our style, our brand, or to the tradition building gesture we sought to bring forth.
While visiting family in Prague, I wandered into the Moser Glassworks store on Wenceslaus Square. The space resembles a museum more than a shop… with curated designs leading the visitor through Bohemian/Czech history through the lens of crystal glass. From the Austro-Hungarian empire, to Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination that launched WWI, followed by the forming of Czechoslovakia after the great war, the subsequent post-WWII handover to the Soviet bloc, the Prague Spring in 1968, the post-Berlin-wall freedom, a peaceful Slovak secession, to today… each design was inspired by the zeitgeist of the time.
But, how could I ask my Martin+Mo coFounder, Wai Mo, to accept a line of glass objects that was not uniquely American as we had envisioned? Since the first Czechoslovak president Masaryk was closely advised by the Americans and inspired by the US Constitution during the forming of the post-war new Czechoslovak constitution, there was a case that a strong bond exists between the two countries and cultures.
My strategy was two-fold.
Emotional - I returned home with several high-ball glasses in the Pebbles design. This design originates from 1968, the year I emigrated from then Czechoslovakia as a young girl. It’s a whimsical, bold, and natural pattern, not unlike Czech composer Antonín Dvorák's New World Symphony (1893) written during his stint as the conductor of National Conservatory of Music of America.
Quality - Since its inception in 1857, Moser has a reputation as the most prestigious and innovative crystal maker in the Austro-Hungarian empire and later, the world. It is often compared to Baccarat, Lalique and Waterford crystal, except that it is, and has always been, the only crystal brand that is made using ecological 100% lead-free crystal. Every Moser object is handmade, mouth-blown, hand-cut and etched, of a unique color spectrum, and designed by the most prestigious glass artists.
The short version of the story is that Wai needed no convincing, historical or otherwise. Wai’s uber-discriminating royal taste, sense of style and quality has few contemporaries. Moser’s timeless modern designs coupled with the high craftsmanship that elevates each piece to a work of art convinced her without a word from me. Wai immediately saw, what kings, popes, celebrities, and other notables have recognized for over 160 years: that Moser crystal is the finest crystal available. Thus, it’s the obvious choice for Martin+Mo.
When Moser authorized Martin+Mo to sell their crystal, we were thrilled, humbled and honored to be invited to the same party as other Moser retailers like the legendary Gumps and Nieman Marcus.
The Moser collection in my cupboard came from my grandmother via my mother and includes vintage Lady Hamilton and Bar glasses. When my mother visits from Chicago, we invoke Babička's spirit by using her glasses for everything from wine, to water, to ice-cream or mousse. I bring it out often for simple gatherings of friends, monthly salons, and to celebrate holidays and birthdays. I have since made space for Pebbles high-balls in the cupboard. The 1968 design is a constant reminder of my gratitude for my life in America.
We hope that Moser glass and Art Objects inspire your gatherings in new and memorable ways.