Louis Vuitton opens Peter Marino-renovated London flagship
The Parisian maison unveils its Peter Marino-designed boutique on London’s New Bond Street
Long-term Vuitton ally Peter Marino is known for his big, sexy, gallery-cum-galleria projects. In 2017 he returned two hôtel particuliers at 2 Place Vendôme in Paris to their former glory, creating a vast, sun-soaked home for Louis Vuitton, studded with bold artworks and site specific installations. This week, the brand’s revamped 17,500 sq ft London Maison on New Bond Street opens its doors after 14 months in the making. Step over its Damier check threshold made of warm Croix Huyart limestone and cool Pierre Bleue du Hainaut marble – bathe in luxury and light.
Gone is Marino’s once newfangled, illuminated LED floor and staircase – installed when the store first opened in 2010. It has been replaced with a softer, double helix cerused oak structure that now quietly connects three floors. The towering wall of trunk shelving has gone too, as has the darker wood cabinets – the immensity replaced with a convivial allure. Sections of the middle floors have been cut away to create a double height void, a vast skylight lending a voluminous, bright élan to the passing parade.
In among the wares are antique African anklets, mid century Danish furniture, Jean Touret cabinets and piles of books, vases of seasonal blooms. Four Cocoon chairs by the Campana Brothers hover high in the main atrium, heralding the arrival of a dedicated space for Objets Nomades, Vuitton’s full travel and homeware collection. The pieces inject pops of colour to the stone toned interior. British artist Annie Morris’ colourful spherical totems have been transported from the Place Vendôme store, here placed against a glass wall so they can be seen across the third floor balcony.
Three tall stacks of LED, dyed concrete, oak, acrylic and brass discs by Los Angeles-based architect and designer Matt Gagnon run through the central cavity of the staircase, leading down to Virgil Abloh’s incisive work for the house. His pop art performance-wear pulses with vitality in Marino’s sombre staging; fitting room doors are re-purposed pieces by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce, dating back to the mid 1990s. Andreas Gurksy’s giant Düsselstrand print from 1996 hangs on a stone coloured wall; London based furniture maker Martino Gamper’s Wom table, with its warm insets in redwood and cedar, leads you into the men’s shoe department. Paolo Giordano’s cast bronze Ethno-Eames chair smoulders against an ochre rug.
The floor above is where Nicolas Ghesquière’s sensuous sci-fi womenswear lives. New Bond Street will be the only Maison in the world, aside from Maison Vendôme, to hold a full high jewellery collection as well as a selection of demi-couture based on red carpet styles that can be made to order. The hallowed apartment and private shopping suites on the fourth floor are now reached by a jolly staircase finished entirely in pink, yellow, green and aqua tape by Scottish artist Jim Lambie or can be accessed via a gold-leaf lined elevator. A giant portrait of the young Louis Vuitton himself by Alex Katz – commissioned in 2017 – is installed on pale checked walls, surrounded by ceramics by Dutch design studio Floris Wubben and generous, nubby sofas.
Meditative, calm, relaxed – the mood is best encapsulated in James Turrell’s serene light installation Tall Glass (2009), which thrums from deep purple and buttercup yellow to vivid orange and red, high up on the wall of the third floor. Beneath it, a mannequin perches on top of a Charlotte Perriand sideboard from 1958 wearing an embellished sequin leather coat, high neck animal print top and wide leg black trousers. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is also currently dedicating its 11 galleries to the French architect and designer, a show which is on view until February. Nestled close by are three of Pierre Paulin’s fluffy Alpha chairs and a gleaming bureau by sculptor Hélène de Saint Lager – its gold-leaf and sequins trapped in amber resin auspiciously riffing on Ghesquière’s silhouettes. High shine and high design. §