MIL AN TREND REPORT
The latest looks from the design capital.
A BEAUTIFUL SUSPENSE PERVADED the standout Hermès installation at Teatro Vetra in Milan. Within an expansive pavilion designed by Mexican architect Mauricio Rocha built from humble bricks, new exquisite pieces from Collections for the Home 2016-2017 were suspended, propped and hung haphazardly with ropes and pulleys at precarious angles. The display was a clever reflection of the tension between the raw materials the house begins with and the exacting craftsmanship and attention to detail wrought upon each design. This positive tension extends to the company’s choice of joint artistic directors – each from very different careers.
“Only a company like Hermès could think of someone like me to participate in the direction of the house,” says publisher Alexis Fabry who co-founded Toluca Éditions in Paris. “It is typical of Hermès to expect people to think in ways that they wouldn’t have imagined. But, of course, in all my publications there is the presence of design and my background in disciplines like literature and photography certainly comes to the surface now and then,” he says.
His partner in design direction is friend Charlotte Macaux Perelman, the stellar French architect with a special flair for hospitality design, who trained at Philippe Starck and has worked for hotel giants Ian Schrager and André Balazs, and now balances her own design practice with her work for Hermès. “Alexis
and I have rather similar tastes but we had never worked together. I believe we are always in agreement, which is reassuring, but at the same time we don’t see things in the same way – often we don’t even see things going in the same room,” says Charlotte. Together the pair have overseen the design and curation of a generous collection of furniture, starting with a re-work of the elegant 1980s ‘Pippa’ chaise which has been contemporised with small adjustments.
“The ‘Pippa’ was a piece of furniture that was very much a part of our heritage and we only changed what was absolutely necessary for it to be based in modern times,” says Alexis. “Now it is no longer an object of the 1980s, it’s a contemporary piece – and timeless.” Charlotte adds, “We believe at Hermès that we need to have the right distance from our era.”
The pair are in accord on the main agreement of the collection – tension. “The tension between objects brings charisma to the collection,” says Alexis. “For example, the furniture is more rigorous and the fabrics are more narrative. Artist Nigel Peake’s work illustrates this well – he would use a motif such as horses and then add abstraction or an architectural element. Harmony is very important to us and charisma.” And this duo have that in spades.
FROM ABOVE The ‘Double Horse’ throw in cashmere and silk based on an original drawing by Irish artist and architect Nigel Peake. In a fine balance, the ‘Carnets d’Equateur’ porcelain collection is suspended against architect Mauricio Rocha’s raw brick backdrop. “Harmony i s v er y i mportant t o u s a nd c harisma . . .”
“Charisma c omes f rom t he t en sion between raw materials a nd t he l evel o f c r a f t s m a n s h i p.” CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Oria d’Hermès dining set. Équilibre d’Hermès magnifying glass. ‘Evening’ ready-to-lay panel by Nigel Peake. ‘Pavage’...
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT The graphic ‘Pavage’ fabric design in Cobalt is a pattern first used on a men’s tie and inspired by the Paris pavement. Hermès Maison deputy artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry photographed exclusively for...
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Roll of ‘Nigel’s Tartan’ wallpaper by Nigel Peake. Pippa mattress and lounger by RDAI. Charlotte with a favourite piece, Équilibre d’Hermès magazine rack. Leather and beech spinning tops. ‘Sellier’ sofa by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance....