WHAT IS THE SALON CULTURE?
Salons came into existence in the time of the French Revolution and were the counter model of the bourgeoisie to the court. Freedom and equality in all aspects are therefore immovable principles in the salon. Great spiritual themes of the Enlightenment were discussed, the Salon has and always had a political position. In the salons in particular the woman, the Saloniere, had her political mandate: Salons were arguably the only stage for women to play a role in actively and creatively participating in the political, intellectual and artistic life. Salons were for women the replacement for an university, the framework to actively participate in the society and communicate openly. The private framework allowed for free exchange of opinions and encounter of different classes.
Salons were for many famous artists, scientists and politicians their extended living room where one met. Interestingly, these private gatherings of wealthy, educated hosts, often nobles, were never referred to as salons, but tea-table, soirée, or bureau-d’Esprit. Peter Seibert has established the following formal criteria: mixed gender, centered on a salon lady, periodicly meeting in a private household extended to semi-public, conversation being as the most important factor in action, permeability in the participant structures, tendential renunciation of action goals beyond sociability. An important aspect of the salon to be added here is its internationality.
SALON CULTURE TODAY
Salons in the sense of the great literary – artistic or political circles of the turn of the century and even before that – have become quite rare today, after World War II finally set these salons down. Nevertheless, today we have a very similar situation to the famous salons of the nineteen hundreds to twenties: never before has so much changed at once. Politic, societal, economic and technical changes are coming faster than ever, knowledge has a shorter and shorter half-life, the future is facing great threats and challenges but also new opportunities.
What can be the orientation for our actions in this rapidly changing environment? A clear commitment to values that are and were the foundation of every salon. Values that give us a trusting orientation for our future actions, our vision.
OUR VALUES ARE
These values live in the salon culture
EVERY SALON EVENING IS DEDICATED TO A TOPIC
IN GOOD COMPANY
In private houses, speakers are invited to hold a lecture on one of these topics, then guided by the saloniere there is a discussion ongoing. Diverse opinions are desired, the polite, respectful approach provides the framework that should lead to new insights. These evenings are dedicated to intellect and culture, which is why the set food, dress code and dinner table are dignified and elegant for the occasion.