A domestic dream house fashioned for Valextra’s London store

Valextra store exterior view
Valextra has opened a debut London store on Mount Street, designed by Philippe Malouin and his London-based studio Post-Office
(Image credit: press)

Opening its doors this week on London’s Mount Street, a new Valextra store marks the brand’s flagship debut in the city. For the project, the Italian leather goods company enlisted POST-OFFICE, the London-based studio of Canadian designer Philippe Malouin, who created the look for its new home.

‘We have been admiring Philippe’s work for a while,’ says Sara Ferrero, the brand’s CEO, who together with art director Susanna Cucco, has worked closely with the designer on the project. ‘We like the way he works with materials, his pure and graphic approach to design, but also the sophisticated way he combines texture and colours.’ Malouin approached the space as a domestic environment, creating an intimate language that combines materials and colours to celebrate the exquisite Valextra product.

Valextra interior view

(Image credit: press)

Architectural elements and motifs from his ongoing design research become integral parts of the store – such as the axonometric MDF wall, a ‘landscape’, as Malouin calls it, which forms a sculptural backdrop for the collection. On the other side, brushed brass shelves serve as a display for suitcases and larger bags, with a pink padded wall as the background. In the centre of the space, small leather goods are displayed on powder pink concrete modules, an oversized version of smaller objects the designer had developed when researching the material. More domestic touches populate the store – such as his 'Gridlock' chandelier, designed for Roll & Hill – or the small sitting room at the back of the space, furnished with vintage Giò Ponti chairs, Max Lamb’s 'Marmoreal' coffee table and Malouin’s 'Mollo' sofa for Established & Sons.

‘I think that Valextra is a very architectural, minimal brand, and the shop needed to reflect those qualities,’ says Malouin. The colour scheme in the boutique is at the same time muted and diverse, with a light blue mohair carpet uniting the space, populated with a palette of pink, green and gray that enhances and complements the textured leather of the collection. It's a collection that Malouin himself is very fond of. ‘I am very much a fan of the edges being shown,’ he explains, hinting to the signature black edges (or 'Costa') that identify the Valextra products. ‘The china finish on the edges look like architectural sketches that draw and outline the bags.’

Valextra interior view

A light blue mohair carpet unites the space

(Image credit: press)

Malouin is the last of a series of creatives that Valextra has collaborated with in the past two years, mixing its classic, modernist product with the work of designers and architects. ‘We always work with designers who have an aesthetic similar to ours, but that at the same time can enrich our brand: for us it’s a two-way conversation,’ explains Ferrero. The brand worked with Martino Gamper on a pop-up installation in the Milan boutique, for which the designer got rid of all shelves and supports and used magnets instead to give the space a more graphic treatment. ‘The reason we started working with Martino is his ability to think outside the box,’ continues Ferrero. ‘He sees spaces in a non-traditional way, and expresses an extreme graphic thought: he is our magician, his lateral thinking is very interesting for us.’

After Gamper, the brand worked on further collaborations with the likes of art director and graphic designer Peter Saville, who created a display for the brand's spring/summer presentation earlier this year; and architect Bernard Dubois, who gave a minimal sensuality to the Milan store. Artist Lorenzo Vitturi worked with colour and shapes inspired by the leather cuts to create a series of sculptures shown at this year’s Salone del Mobile; and more recently, architect David Adjaye collaborated with Valextra on an asymmetrical, textured shop-in-shop inside Harrods.

Launch party pictures

Valextra CEO Sara Ferrero (pictured top left with designer Tom Dixon) gathered the art and design world to celebrate the launch, with the likes of artist Daniel Arsham (bottom left), Wallpaper* Editor-in-Chief Tony Chambers and curator Maria Cristina Didero (both bottom right) joining for the raucous evening

(Image credit: press)

‘The people we work with become part of our community,’ says Ferrero, who recently gathered these collaborators as well as names from the art and design world (from gallerist Nina Yashar to designer Ilse Crawford) for a dinner to celebrate the new London opening.

‘We always work with creatives whose aesthetic is close to ours, but that at the same time can enrich us,’ she concludes. ‘For us, these collaborations are part of an ongoing creative dialogue.’

Valextra store interior view

The shop has an intimate, domestic feel, enhanced by the muted colour palette

(Image credit: press)

Small sitting area view

At the back of the space, Malouin created a small sitting room furnished with vintage Giò Ponti chairs, Max Lamb’s 'Marmoreal' coffee table and his own 'Mollo' sofa upholstered in taupe

(Image credit: press)

Valextra store interior view

The centre of the store is taken over by a modular system of powder-pink concrete blocks, an oversized version of smaller objects the designer had developed when researching the material

(Image credit: press)

Purses on window display

Malouin also worked on the current window display: as well as solid blocks to hold the products, he created a series of motorised shapes for a dynamic installation

(Image credit: press)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Valextra website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Valextra
129 Mount Street
London W1K 3NX

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.