Text by Jessica Egbu
Interior architecture has been revolutionized. Constructed inside a Parisian landmark, the newest luxury boutique for French brand house Hermès redefines expectations. For the past 175 years, Hermès has substantiated their exquisite fashion standpoints on style and apparel. Now Hermès presents their interpretation on modern interior architecture with the striking, intricately woven boutique at 17 Rue de Sèvres.
Designed by Dennis Montel of the French firm Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure (RDAI), Hermès Rive Gauche (“Left Bank”) takes its name from its locale in Paris’ chic retail hot spot, Saint-Germaine-des-Près. You could also find the shop under the name Lutètia, as the boutique is sited on the floor of the historic Lutètia swimming pool, declared a landmark in 2005.
The design is at once minimal, intricate and enveloping. Upon entering, towering spires of wood flow from either side of the store. Massive hut-like wooden structures brightened by skylights create a meandering pathway through which a visitor is led slowly around the boutique, every next step a new discovery. There is also a tearoom, a book shop and a florist, making for the ultimate shopping experience. One could easily lose an afternoon here.
The interior work might momentarily transport you to another world, but in reality you’re just a few feet away from Paris’ crowded metropolitan bustle. The pool floor conveys its own historic beauty, seen through the wall-to-wall mosaic of the floor, with tiles of white gold, green and tints of grey. While Hermès’ architecture offers a look at the future of in-store merchandising, its location in Lutètia is an homage to Paris’ history.
Demanding more than just the usual quick look-see of Paris’ latest trends, you’ll want to stay for hours. RDAI has propelled architectural interior design into the future, not solely as an aspect of fashion boutiques, but as a new standard for the interior design industry at whole. There is no better way to introduce the newest (and second) Hermès shop in France: an homage to old while pushing the boundaries of new. Clearly, there’s much to look forward to in the future of Hermès and RDAI.