Following a nine month renovation, this week Hermès quietly reopened its New Bond Street flagship's doors within the shopping strip's iconic Time & Life building that has been the French brand's London home for the past 40 years.
Doubling its size to 673 sq m, the two-storey store, designed by Hermès architect RDAI and led by Denis Montel, has eaten up the brand's former office space to create a savoire faire emporium that includes a new dedicated homewares department, which faces out onto a grand, topiary-lined courtyard that features Henry Moore's 'Draped Reclining Figure' sculpture. The piece has never before been on view to the public. (The other Moore on show being the frieze on the Time & Life Building, of course.)
English Heritage listed wooden panelling and light features designed by RY Goodden and Ellis Mile have been thoughtfully united with modern materials that showcase craftsmanship wherever possible. And while the exterior's Portland stone cladding designed by Michael Rosenhauer in 1951 has remained completely untouched, inside, the menswear and silk section that greets shoppers at street level has been updated with a terrazzo Fantini cement floor that was poured on site (taking one month), and is flecked with Hermès-owned Saint-Louis crystal.
From here a sweeping, curved staircase of polished Venetian plaster entices guests upwards to the open-plan second floor that houses womenswear, shoes, fragrance, jewellery, stationery, equestrian and leather goods. A neutral palette has been maintained throughout, while curved skylights and woven copper blinds by Sophie Mallebranche continue the artisan theme as they flood the store with light. Display classes pair acid washed glass and European cherry wood, (fittingly sealed with leather pulls), just as the oak wooden floors are interspersed with mushroom-hued carpets.
The next month will bring a flood of festivities for Hermès in London with the brand's return to the Saatchi Gallery in early April with its latest exhibition 'Wanderand', built around the theme of Flânerie - the freeing art of urban wandering. Spread across eleven rooms, the series of installations will include various media created by a range of artists as a fantastical cabinet de curiosites. Watch this space.