A chance meeting of minds in 1904 led to the birth of the Cartier Santos timepiece. Two friends, one a pioneering aviator and the other an intrepid designer, collaborated on a watch that could be worn on the wrist so that an aviator’s hands were freed up to pilot the aircraft. They were the Brazilian aviator and inventor, Albert Santos-Dumont, and head of Cartier watches and jewellery, Louis Cartier.
Together they’ve created a timekeeper that was thoroughly ahead of its time, and yet today the Santos remains as timeless and iconic as ever. Remember that in 1904, people did not even wear wristwatches; pocket watches were the norm. Also, aviation was still in its infancy; heavier than air flight literally just became a reality. Santos-Dumont himself flew around in dirigibles built using his own time and money.
Now 114 years later, the Maison Cartier is keeping the Santos spirit alive with its latest project named the Cartier Social Lab. Three days of invigorating conversations among leading players in their fields, from entertainment and the arts, to health and wellness and the environment, to the sports, architecture and culinary worlds.
At the charming Pier 48 located along San Francisco’s scenic bay area, speakers included New York architect Rafael de Cardenas, industrial designer Yves Behar, graffiti artist Barry McGee, Hollywood actors Melanie Laurent, Frieda Pinto, and Idris Elba, as well as celebrity photographer David Lachapelle, and many more.
Follow this space to catch up on conversations from the Cartier Social Lab. Topics include Invention and Failure featuring Melanie Laurent and Frieda Pinto; Mind Over Matter featuring surfing pro Laird Hamilton and actress-model-paralympian Aimee Mullins; Designing Dreams featuring set designer Es Devlin and Idris Elba; Art and the Spirit of Santos Dumont featuring Bahaman conceptual artist Tavares Strachen.
But first, here’s the lowdown on the Santos Party that brought an armada of Hollywood celebrities into town, including Cartier’s latest brand ambassador Jake Gyllenhaal, Sofia Coppola, Sienna Miller, Lilly Collins, Chloe Sevigny, Sofia Boutella, Winnie Harlow, Jeremy Renner, Dave Franco, Jason Momoa, Aaron Paul, Henry Golding, Liev Schreiber and of course all the Social Lab speakers such as Melanie Laurent, Frieda Pinto and Idris Elba.
Entertainment for the evening was pretty mind-blowing, as it should be since ‘bold and fearless’ was the theme of the night. Captivating light art by Nonotak Design Studio set the mood right; Wade Crescent opened the evening with his hard-hitting beats and next was British indie pop band Hot Chip while French indie band Phoenix took the party to the next level. What a way to celebrate the Santos story.