SPA­TIAL SPECIES

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Four sim­ple sad­dle stitches trans­form a piece of sup­ple bri­dle leather into a desk ac­ces­sory or change tray. A dream­catcher is stripped back to its bare es­sen­tials to be­come a cir­cle of maple wood sep­a­rated into quad­rants for stor­ing ties (pic­tured). An old-school, three-tiered sew­ing box is reimag­ined into a jaunty red cof­fer for pre­cious scarves. And a cylin­dri­cal stool made from light­weight cork is en­veloped in pinched, bur­nished leather.

Her­mès’s 2018/19 home col­lec­tion serves up all the French mai­son’s hall­marks. It is un­der­stated yet play­ful, colour­ful yet quiet. As Her­mès learnt long ago, why shout if a whis­per will do?

A neck­lace bust dubbed Vis-à-vis is a nod to the brand’s hum­ble be­gin­nings as a sad­dle- and har­ness­maker in the late 1830s (as the com­pany still proudly points out, for more than half its ex­is­tence, its only cus­tomer was the horse). This eques­trian her­itage is con­stantly be­ing ref­er­enced – in the case of Vis-à-vis, by draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from tra­di­tional in­stru­ments used to ad­just horse har­nesses.

A deep-seated cu­rios­ity about the world has also been a corner­stone of the brand since it was founded by in­trepid trav­eller and col­lec­tor Emile Her­mès. In the new home col­lec­tion, this man­i­fests it­self in an ad­di­tion to the Karumi line of seat­ing – a bench that cel­e­brates the light­ness of bam­boo and tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion of Ja­panese master crafts­men, but is crowned with a seat of cash­mere, in a tar­tan-in­spired mo­tif by artist Nigel Peake.

A sense of whimsy per­me­ates A Walk in the Gar­den, a set of plates that takes its cues from na­ture. Here, Peake “let his pen­cil glide, free­hand, from shrub to path­way”. Up­lift­ing hues of bright orange, leaf green, but­ter­cup and Prus­sian blue are worked into com­po­si­tions that see twigs, leaves and grass shoot up through lat­ticed, che­quered and her­ring­bone mo­tifs.

These are just some of the pieces on show at the Her­mès Species of Spa­ces ex­hi­bi­tion at The Dubai Mall un­til Novem­ber 17. The first floor of the brand’s store in the mall’s Fash­ion Av­enue has been trans­formed into an in­stal­la­tion that fea­tures fur­ni­ture, home ac­ces­sories, table­ware, fab­rics and wall­pa­pers. Cre­ated by Charlotte Ma­caux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, who are both artis­tic di­rec­tors of Her­mès Mai­son, the in­stal­la­tion has al­ready trav­elled to Taipei and, af­ter Dubai, will move on to Seoul.

“Colours give ob­jects iden­tity, they an­i­mate sur­faces with char­ac­ter. Her­mès has cel­e­brated colour since 1837; its her­itage is com­posed of in­fi­nite hues,” says the brand in its de­scrip­tion of the in­stal­la­tion. As such, the un­fussy lines of the home col­lec­tion are pre­sented against a back­drop of softly coloured, over­sized geo­met­ric pat­terns, cre­at­ing a joy­ful jumble of strik­ing shapes.

“Her­mès Species of Spa­ces gives voice to the ob­jects, with all their vary­ing scales, and the know-how be­hind them,” says Ma­caux Perelman. “Each one re­veals its soul within this im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of colour and form. Our in­stal­la­tion con­veys sev­eral val­ues: the fur­ni­ture that ex­presses rigour, and fan­tasy through tex­tiles, wall­pa­per and porce­lain. We know more rigour than fan­tasy at Her­mès; that’s why we wanted an in­stal­la­tion that brings colour and light­ness, and the idea of play and con­struc­tion.”

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