Each floor faces Oxford Street on one side and opens onto the Selfridges shop floor on the other end. I refer here to Selfridges’ latest, three-story addition. The luxury chain’s London outfit just became home to the lavish Louis Vuitton Townhouse and quite a home within a fashion-loving home this! The 10,000-square-foot shopper’s paradise is bathed in the best of the French fashion label. And by “best,” I mean all of its collections. So while the Haute house continues to impress, let’s see what else lies within its multistoried newness!
After five years of sculpting, erecting, and glass-elevator-making, the Townhouse has turned out unique in every way. With a revolving glass elevator inside a double helix and an interactive “digital atelier,” it blends the classic with the modern, I must say. “The term ‘townhouse’ encapsulates the unique aspect of this space. It’s very London, Boston, New York,” explains Michael Burke, chairman, and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton. “We have the concept of the ‘Maison,’ which is very Latin. The ‘townhouse’ instead is an Anglo-Saxon concept. The space is welcoming, homey, but there is a sense of discovery and experience.”
Created by architect suprême, French-born, Japan-based Gwenaël Nicolas, the place possesses an understated elegance. The interiors utilize materials such as leather, stone, and wood and are in shades of sand, gold, and tortoiseshell. Yet, from its whimsical flower sculptures by Barnaby Barford, it acquires a grand countenance. A glittering three-way mirror by Katsumi Hayakawa resides in the building, very reminiscent of a Gustav Klimt painting. Taking it, however, into futuristic realms is the fact that the ground floor houses a big wooden desk where customers can sit and explore the brand. Using an interactive screen, they can get a peek into the list of products on offer and even read about Vuitton’s history and craftsmanship. The “digital atelier” also allows them to make wish lists that are automatically transferred to the iPads of shop assistants.
In the words of Alannah Weston, creative director, Selfridges, “we worked so long with Louis Vuitton, and what we wanted for this space was incredible architecture, innovative technology, and art. And I loved the notion of travel, the sense of a journey.” The voyage, a recurring theme in the Vuitton collections, is seen in a space for the first time with such prominence. She also adds, “I wanted this store to be a one-off, something that people would travel to see” of the place that features different qualities of light on the three different floors in order to incorporate travelers’ changing perceptions, as the quality of light changes upon moving from one country to the next.
The ground floor showcases accessories. The first is dedicated to men’s wear and the second floor, to women’s wear. According to Nicolas, the project was particularly challenging. All of the rich, fabric-covered furniture was designed by him and made by hand, while walls are covered in two layers of fabric. Contrasting the classical pillars of Selfridges with the curving “DNA” shape enfolding the lift, the floating handbags inside add the fashionable finishing flourishes. The Townhouse will offer an exclusive prelaunch of the spring 2014 Icônes collection, inspired by the French designer and architect Charlotte Perriand and the men’s spring 2014 pre-collection.
[Via – WWD]