L’École Van Cleef & Arpels is school of hard rocks

L’École Van Cleef & Arpels recently opened the doors to its new jewellery school, exhibition space and bookstore in Paris, winning a Wallpaper* Design Award 2024

Grand interior of L’École Van Cleef & Arpels
Housed in a neoclassical mansion in Paris, L’École Van Cleef & Arpels features interiors by renowned French designer Constance Guisset
(Image credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Jewellery culture is alive and well in the hands of L’École, School of Jewelry Arts, and Van Cleef & Arpels, who have recently opened the doors to their newest venture in the heart of Paris. Founded in 2012 with the support of the jewellery house, the school has now opened a vast new location – an exhibition space, bookstore, generously equipped library, and elegant home to a range of courses, offering education on everything from gemology to the history of jewellery and general savoir-faire, including setting techniques and lacquer design.

Located in the neoclassical Hôtel de Mercy-Argenteau, once a private home, L’École eschews entrance fees, and is keen to welcome all through its doors. ‘We aim to provide access to the world of jewellery to the widest audience possible,’ says president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, Nicolas Bos. ‘Our world shouldn’t intimidate or turn anyone away.’

Inside L’École Van Cleef & Arpels

Blue room inside L’École Van Cleef & Arpels

(Image credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Designer, interior architect and scenographer Constance Guisset (who had a solo show, ‘Surprise Party! Carte Blanche à Constance Guisset Studio’ at Milan’s Fuorisalone 2023) was at the helm of the interior, balancing an intricate compromise between the historical codes of the 19th-century architecture and the modern, fluid layout within. She says: ‘I approach space intuitively: when I enter a space, I prepare myself psychologically so I may understand its volumes. As I move through it, I may consider lowering a ceiling, for varying heights can create a feeling of movement. I may incorporate a recess in a certain area to offer visitors a place to retreat. And then, only after the volumes have been defined, I think about the atmosphere. The shape of the furniture contributes to a feeling of comfort. I try to add soft lines using furniture with rounded edges. I like curves for their graceful, delicate nature.’

Adds Bos: ‘Its façade is so discreet that it creates an element of surprise. Who would expect to find such a beautiful setting upon crossing the threshold of its porte-cochère? The Boulevard Montmartre address feels more accessible than our Place Vendôme location. And the surrounding neighbourhood, while popular, has strong ties with culture and art, thanks to its covered passageways, its theatres, the Hôtel Drouot, and the Musée Grévin. I like the combination of the two. This part of Paris is also associated with jewellery, for jewellery makers and stone merchants are not far away.’


A version of this article appears in the February 2024 issue of Wallpaper* – dedicated to the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024 – available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.