Peter Marino
Peter Marino
Image: Supplied

How does the Place Vendôme fit into urban landscape of Paris? And how did you adapt to working on a building with such a significant heritage? The Place Vendôme facades were created for Louis XIV and are marvellously baroque; but the work behind them was not completed in his lifetime, and is not regarded as historically significant, comparatively speaking. My philosophy was to create a juxtaposition: to adopt a modern aesthetic for everything within the walls, and simultaneously to restore the exterior as beautifully and faithfully as possible. The façade features ample windows and doors, which bring light into the space – our challenge was to work with a space that had almost more window than perimeter wall on the ground floor. The ultra-modern additions introduce an element of expansiveness, increasing the flow of natural light within the space. We filled in what was a courtyard between the two townhouses; now it's a double-height space, with a skylight ushering in the daylight from above. 

What was particularly challenging about the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme project? The existing façade is clearly historical; we restored it in keeping with the original. Rebuilding the inside was a great challenge. The balance between the modernity and antiquity, is for me, what Paris is all about. The staircase is a particularly good example of this balance – an 18th century design in stone, augmented by high-tech glass balustrades suspended by stainless steel cables. The staircase itself is art. There is artwork embedded within the staircase as well, with Stephen Sprouse’s Speaker (Orange-Green) visible from the ground floor.

Image: Supplied

What was your technique to reinvent the space of the two hotels particuliers: what have you preserved, and what have you totally reinvented? We used many 18th century techniques in our work that reference French history and craftsmanship. We worked with French artisans to fill the store with both vintage and modern objects. Every window is different – the glass we installed was hand-rolled, so the end-products include the natural imperfections typical of an earlier time. But the overall approach was not just to re-instate the two hotel particuliers, or to unify the whole space as one new house for Louis Vuitton; it was to evolve the design of the space as well. Modern interior shelving has been integrated, using straw marquetry and converted 18th century flooring. The space references various French periods, and contrasts these references with a light-filled, art-filled, sleek, ultra-modern interior. The idea is that we call it the Louis Vuitton Maison: ‘The House of Vuitton’, in this case very fitting amid classic Parisian townhouses. This is intended to make the visitors feel at home.

What are your favorite elements of the store? The staircase, the skylight courtyard, the World of Travel room, and the Women’s Ready to Wear Salon.

How do you want people to feel on entering and on leaving the store? On entering: excited and expectant.  On leaving: happy and uplifted

What part of the space is dedicated to art in the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme? Was there a specific selection made for the store? It features 21 pieces by 19 different artists, whose work represents six different continents. Among them are major commissions by Laurent Grasso, Farhad Moshiri, and Annie Morris.  Louis Vuitton is a very forward-thinking company when it comes to its engagement with the art world, and its vision is global. The artwork is selected from artists who work from Iran (Moshiri) China (Yan Pei-Ming), Germany (Gregor Hildebrandt), South Africa (Kendell Geers), to name a few. There is also artwork from France, of course: ceramics by Jean Lurçat, photography by Martin D’Orgeval, and custom light sculptures from Philippe Anthonioz. Much of the artwork in the store is joyful, positioned to compliment the architecture. Its purpose is to make you smile, and enjoy yourself. For me, shopping should be fun, and an opportunity for learning; not a dull mechanical engagement with buttons on the internet.

THE OBJETS NOMADS

Arriving in Place Vendôme are the Objets Nomads, a unique collection of travel and home objects created in collaboration with world’s most renowned designers.

For the Maison’s opening on the 5th October 2017, the Campana Brothers’ sensuous Cocoon chair will be  accompanied by Marcel Wanders’ elegant Lune Chair and delicate Diamond Screen, Tokujin Yoshioka’s Monogram-inspired Blossom Stools, and India Mahdavi’s marquetry Talisman Table. Beautiful lighting will be provided by Raw Edges’ Concertina shades and Atelier Oï’s Spiral Lamp.

The New Maison’s selection of Objets Nomads will be renewed every three months, giving clients access to the full collection of 25 objects.

Here’s what you’ll find on the five floors:

1st floor: Jewellery, leather goods and fragrances.
2nd floor: Menswear.
3rd floor: Womenswear.
4th floor: Travel and Objets Nomades and VIP Salon and “Rare & Exceptionnel” product categories.
5th floor: High Jewellery.

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