Interior design: RDAI
Artistic director: Denis Montel
Project interior architect: Nathalie Gonon
Interior architect: Joanna Andreassian
Lighting consultant: Metis Lighting
Furnishings: RDAI design and selections
Photo credits: Guillaume Grasset
The extraordinary exploratory approach that defines Hermès’ creations come through powerfully in its newly renovated absolutely charming boutique in Rue de Sèvres in Paris, and in the new space it opened right next door at no. 17. The Petit H métier, which is about sustainability and material reuse, has an independent entrance and display window, born of thinking about reinvention and environmental respect while keeping true to the artisan values and aesthetic excellence that have forged every single Hermès piece since 1837.
RDAI architects were responsible for the new architectural work as well as renovation of the flagship store, given the importance of the site where both are located, the former Lutetia swimming pool, named a national monument in 2005. The existing section covers over 1300 square meters and houses all sixteen Hermès métiers, designers who have given their own interpretation to water, playing on the complementary quality of opposites, lines, colors and materials.
Water and light inspired the shape of the custom-woven carpets and the wall surface’s iridescent reflections imitating concentric circles. Ceramic tiles in 1930s styles, made by ceramists with exceptional expertise, embellish many areas of the shop.
Luminous blues and greens are echoed in mosaics and terrazzo floors, warmed by the cream and caramel hues of the glazed lava stone tops and crackle lacquered wooden shelves. This combination goes beautifully with the 120-meter long colored fresco L’Odysée d’Hermès that unfurls along the walls, designed by the French artist Matthieu Cossé.
A selection of exclusive pieces was chosen to celebrate the shop’s reopening, including Birkin, Bolide 1923 and Lindy handbags in a collection of water-inspired hues that match the shop’s color palette.
The adjacent space for Petit H infuses life and meaning into unique, high-quality hybrid objects, made under the artistic direction of Godefroy de Virieu by meticulously crafting discarded materials (leather, silk, crystal and porcelain), made from materials which were not used.
In this upcycling project, RDAI’s architects deftly highlighted the terrazzo floors with marble punctuated by brass pieces from the leatherworking craft, magnetic whitewashed cork panels on which to attach different pieces each season, and cubic cork furniture with leather handles that fully express the concept of reuse.
The layout will change four times a year to tell ever new stories about (re)creation, and, an absolute first, the shop will host workshops where you can discover the infinite possibilities of things you no longer use. the star material of the opening was earthenware with pieces made from Ravel workshops in south of France…. shaped like a jar.