Hermès new store in Paris opened this week on Rue de Sèvres in a space which used to be home to the Lutetia hotel’s indoor swimming pool. As a reminder of the former pool, Hermes lined up a band of kids in matching swimsuits to greet guests, while on a balcony, great moments in swimming-pool cinema screened on a loop.
The most striking part of the interior design are three giant, nearly 9 meter tall “huts” in latticed ashwood by architect Denis Montel of RDAI. Speaking of the store design, the HERMES artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas said “I had a moment of vertigo when I first visited,” Dumas said, “but it was stimulating. I asked myself, how can we turn this into a warm and protective space?” He also added that ”a store has a mission – it has to embellish a neighbourhood, give pleasure to residents and make discover a piece of heritage”.
The opening coincides with Hermès’ move into interiors. The store showcases the recent addition of furnishings fabrics, wallpaper, carpets, and the new Jean-Michel Frank par Hermès numbered furniture re-editions. For the first time, the Hermes home collection includes carpets which have been created by American artists Janis Provisor and Brad Davis.
Nearly half of the three-level, 700 sqm space is devoted to home, including a flower shop (Baptiste) stocked with exotica like New Zealand coral peonies and lichen branches. There’s a bookstore, too, the Chaîne d’Encre created with Actes Sud with an array of books from architecture, photography, applied arts and horse riding. Le Plongeoir is a tea bar on the balcony, serving a wide range of infussion teas.
HERMES’s brand new store is a statement of creativity which draws impeccably on its heritage. The new opening, which comes amid the major scandal concerning the stake of 17% in Hermes recently acquired by LVMH, demonstrates HERMES is committed to exclusivity and creativity even when it comes to its store concepts. During the scandal, one of HERMES’s arguments against the stake acquired by LVMH was that HERMES does not aim to become a corporate giant with a huge international network such as Louis Vuitton.
In reference to the recent scandal concerning the shares acquired by LVMH, Pierre Alexis Dumas said ”Thanks to God, the Earth keep revolving. More than ever, everyone in our company wishes to express their uniqueness, character and soul. The opening of the Pool (the new store) has been planned for a year and nothing could not have separated us from our wishes, from this fantasy and the Hermes authenticity. If we are so coveted, it is because we are desirable, extremely desirable”.
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