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.