Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant

Orfèvrerie Baudino gives the bronzes of Monaco’s Oceanography Museum back their shine

The Monaco Oceanography Museum, inaugurated in 1910 by Prince Albert I, has today regained its old sparkle thanks to the artisans and master craftsmen of Nice’s EPV-labelled company Orfèvrerie Baudino.

In 2009, the director of Monaco’s Oceanography Museum (Musée Océanographique) launched a major consultation of silversmithing firms for the renovation of the sumptuous bronzes that decorate the entrance, the chandeliers, the lamps, the balustrades and various pieces of furniture in this legendary building perched high up on the cliffs of Monaco.



The chosen company was Orfèvrerie Baudino, which for some years now has "metallised” Prince Albert II of Monaco’s football boots – a gift offered by His Serene Highness to reward outstanding footballing careers. The work, which lasted six months and required four silversmiths working full time, got under way in October 2009.



The bronzes, many of them made by Baguès, notably the conference room’s six fifty-piece chandeliers, were removed and mostly transported to the 200 m2 workshop in the basement of the firm’s Nice shop, to undergo the necessary treatment: cleaning, sandblasting, polishing, varnishing and firing. Highly delicate work given the value of the collection!



Founded in 1925 by Mr and Mrs Michel Baudino, the firm was taken over in 1950 by their daughter and son-in-law, then in turn by their daughter and son-in-law, Martine and Jean Castelli, in 1970. The shop and workshop have remained at the same address, 15 rue du Lycée, in the centre of Nice.

The couple’s creativity and sense of values have attracted the interest and loyalty of local and regional customers, among them many Monaco celebrities, including HSH Prince Albert II and Roger Moore, a regular customer of the shop.

"In their day, my parents and grandparents, too, worked in Monaco. So it was only natural for us to continue working for the Principality," explains Martine Castelli, granddaughter of the founders. In addition to many of Monaco’s hotels and palaces, Orfèvrerie Baudino also boasts among its customers the cathedral and the church of Saint-Dévote.

Historically, Orfèvrerie Baudino became known for a unique process which it invented in 1930, perfected in 1970 and which it sells through 26 outlets in France: metallisation, a traditional technique consisting of coating nonmetallic objects (leather, plastic, resin, plaster, wood, etc) with gold, silver, brass or copper. "The imagination and sentimentalism of our customers knows no bounds! But we have our classics: babies’ dummies and first shoes,” tells Martine Castelli. Some such orders are rather more incredible: a man’s gallstones or an inconsolable lady’s dead cat. But the fact remains that some lovely, precious naturalistic objects can be obtained using the technique, such as fruit, shells, flowers and insects – and a metallised gallstone, too, has a certain impact.

Besides these impressive pieces, Orfèvrerie Baudino caters for the desires of its customers with personalised creations and the restoration of antique and non-antique articles, thanks to its team of artisans specialised in silver, gold, copper, brass and tin plating, antique patinas, restoration, and copper polishing and varnishing. It works for private individuals, listed historic monuments and the hotel trade.

To find out more, pay a visit to their workshop and shop in Nice – and have a look at their company presentation.

20 May 2010