House of Re­possi

The Ital­ian jew­ellery com­pany has re­vamped its store in Paris with an in­te­rior by oma that barely shows what it sells

Azure - - CONTENTS - By Amy Verner

In­side oma’s lit­tle gem of a jew­ellery store in Place Vendôme

DE­PEND­ING ON THE MO­MENT you ar­rive at the Re­possi flag­ship in Paris, you may see a se­lec­tion of jew­ellery on dis­play, or else you will find mir­rored walls turn­ing in slow mo­tion. Thanks to a con­trol­lable sys­tem of pan­els that ro­tate like old Triv­i­sion bill­boards, ver­ti­cal rows of softly lit, prism-shaped vit­rines that con­tain ex­quis­ite rings and ear cuffs cy­cle in and out of view. If this ki­netic fea­ture seems rad­i­cal for an haute jew­ellery shop, it’s in sync with the Re­possi aes­thetic, which took a sharp ar­chi­tec­tural turn af­ter Gaia Re­possi be­came cre­ative and artis­tic di­rec­tor of the fam­ily busi­ness nearly a decade ago. On the Place Vendôme, where the brand has long oc­cu­pied a com­pact space com­pared to its larger neigh­bours (which in­clude the newly re­opened Ritz Paris and ad­di­tional high-end re­tail), the re­design presents Re­possi’s many col­lec­tions within a sys­tem that in­te­grates space-age ma­te­ri­als with gra­di­ent colour and mo­tion.

Re­possi asked OMA to re­al­ize a vi­sion that would ad­dress lux­ury more ex­pe­ri­en­tially than a glossy, baroque back­drop could. “The store has a good bal­ance in terms of in­ten­sity of prod­ucts dis­played in an ar­chi­tec­tural con­tainer,” says project lead Ip­polito Pestellini La­par­elli. Ar­riv­ing at this, how­ever, was not with­out chal­lenges. For starters, the store spans three floors, and the stair­case con­sumes a large part of its 90 square me­tres. Whereas the build­ing’s blocky base was ex­ca­vated to ac­com­mo­date stor­age, the metal steps had to shed enough weight to ap­pear sus­pended be­tween the ground level and the mez­za­nine. Like­wise, the tonal­ity of the walls, as ex­e­cuted by Rot­ter­dam’s Sabine Marcelis, tran­si­tions ver­ti­cally from warm bronze mir­rors to cool grey-blue; from earth to sky.

Des­ig­nated as the “gallery” and fur­nished with Oma-de­signed desks and Franco Al­bini chairs, this up­per floor de­liv­ers what the firm en­vi­sioned as a slower re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence, al­low­ing cus­tomers to pur­chase more ac­ces­si­ble pieces. This “slow” shop­ping yields to the “very slow” in­ti­mate sa­lon be­low. Down there, punc­tu­ated with fur­ni­ture by Don­ald Judd, clients might spend time de­sign­ing unique cus­tom pieces.

For each floor’s dis­tinct rhythm and de­sign, the floor­ing – a struc­ture of foam filled with resin – of­fers a con­stant. Pestellini La­par­elli notes how the light­weight alu­minum ma­te­rial, used by NASA, gives the im­pres­sion of neo-ter­razzo yet re­mains con­sis­tent with the store’s metal mes­sage. Still, the me­chan­i­cal dis­plays are the pièce de ré­sis­tance. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer Gop­pion, the pan­elling evokes any num­ber of metaphors, from clock­work to an even more timely state­ment on pro­tec­tion. Although the con­cept of cre­at­ing “a void” was the ini­tial goal, Pestellini La­par­elli doesn’t rule out the sig­nif­i­cance of con­ceal­ing the jew­ellery. “It’s also about clos­ing off some­thing that is really pre­cious,” he says.

With this project, OMA and its vi­sion­ary founder Rem Kool­haas may need to up­date the sem­i­nal tome S, M, L, XL. “This was an ex­tra-ex­tra-ex­tra-small scale,” Pestellini La­par­elli quips. “But the beau­ti­ful thing is that you find more or less the same com­plex­ity in some­thing so small that you find in a tower. It’s just a dif­fer­ent level of at­ten­tion and fo­cus.” 6 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris.

Photo by cyrille Weiner

Alu­minum stairs tra­verse three lev­els. on the floor, OMA used an alu­minum foam cre­ated by in­ject­ing gas into the molten ma­te­rial and then filling it with resin.

Pho­tos by cyrille Weiner (op­po­site); Delfino Sisto leg­nani and Marco cap­pel­letti

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