New Place

An up­per floor can serve as an apart­ment for the house’s most exclusive clients.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY MIMOSA SPENCER

Boucheron un­veils its re­fur­bished flag­ship on Place Vendôme in Paris, in­clud­ing a win­ter gar­den and an up­stairs apart­ment.

PARIS — Adding a fresh voice to the clamor of Euro­pean houses defin­ing mod­ern lux­ury, Boucheron is set to open its newly re­stored Place Vendôme flag­ship Wed­nes­day.

With its sweep­ing views of the famed Paris square and its spi­ral­ing col­umn, the man­sion, which cov­ers nearly 20,000 square feet of space, now has a win­ter gar­den—and an in­ti­mate perch to ob­serve it from—in ad­di­tion to a suc­ces­sion of dis­tinct, re­fur­bished sa­lons. Mov­ing past the tra­di­tional realm of a high-end bou­tique, the up­per floors house the la­bel’s de­sign stu­dio and work­shops, as well as an en­tire floor that can serve as an apart­ment to host its most elite clients— overnight stays in­cluded.

The jew­eler em­barked on the over­haul amidst a back­drop of in­creas­ingly elab­o­rate re­tail projects from la­bels the world over, many spurred on by the rise of dig­i­tal com­merce, which has ex­panded of­fers for dis­cern­ing con­sumers and raised the pro­file of se­lect, phys­i­cal spa­ces as a means to con­vey a brand’s uni­verse. Across the square sits the ex­pan­sive Louis Vuit­ton flag­ship, which opened last year; nearby, on Rue Cam­bon, Chanel just opened a five-story flag­ship that was van­dal­ized dur­ing this past week­end’s ri­ots in the French cap­i­tal.

For the Boucheron project, which co­in­cided with the house’s 160th an­niver­sary this year, the build­ing’s his­tor­i­cal stature took prece­dence, re­counted Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the jew­eler.

“It’s the her­itage of Paris, it’s the her­itage of the Place Vendôme, it has been the her­itage of Boucheron, dat­ing back to

1893,” she said. That was the year house founder Frédéric Boucheron set up shop here, at num­ber 26 Place Vendôme. Cartier, Chaumet and Van Cleef & Ar­pels fol­lowed suit, joined by oth­ers over the years, and soon the square be­came syn­ony­mous with the sec­tor, gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as the epi­cen­ter of French lux­ury.

Least com­pli­cated, by PoulitDuquesne’s ac­count, was defin­ing the mis­sion of the Ker­ing-owned jew­eler with François-Henri Pin­ault, chair­man and ceo of the lux­ury group.

“Fairly rapidly, we set­tled on the idea that we would work on a ren­o­va­tion project, not with a re­tail bent, but a his­toric ren­o­va­tion of a her­itage build­ing — we were seek­ing to re­dis­cover, re­store the for­mer lus­ter of the Hô­tel Nocé that was cre­ated in 1717,” she said.

The task soon took a tech­ni­cal turn, and the house sought out the as­sis­tance of Michel Goutal, the head ar­chi­tect of France’s his­toric mon­u­ments depart­ment. Known for his work at the Lou­vre, Goutal helped the com­pany sift through 390 years of his­tory.

“And here is what we found,” said Poulit-Duquesne, sweep­ing her hand up to­ward the ceil­ing to em­pha­size the height of the win­dows lin­ing the ground floor’s grand salon.

“We dis­cov­ered this open­ness thanks to our piles of pa­per­work — these two open­ings ex­isted, the win­dow frames are iden­ti­cal to when Frédéric [Boucheron] set up here, which gives us light and a view on the col­umn again,” she said. On the walls, the orig­i­nal Louis XV-style pan­els carved out of wal­nut and in­stalled by Mr. Boucheron, pre­side over the space, where the house’s sig­na­ture mod­els, in­clud­ing pieces from the Qu­a­tre col­lec­tion, are dis­played.

Ex­plor­ing ideas for re­struc­tur­ing the build­ing’s space, which in­cluded clear­ing out the false ceil­ings and mez­za­nine floors that had mul­ti­plied over the years, plan­ners turned to the his­toric 18th-cen­tury stair­case. Al­tered over the years and hid­den be­hind walls, it had been rel­e­gated to use by em­ploy­ees.

“We re­cov­ered the cen­tral stair­case of the man­sion, which gave us the back­bone and the project took form around it,” PoulitDuquesne ex­plained.

The house also em­ployed Pierre-Yves Ro­chon, the in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor be­hind some of the world’s top lux­ury ho­tels in­clud­ing the Four Sea­sons Ge­orge V in Paris and the Wal­dorf As­to­ria in Bev­erly Hills.

“The brief I gave Pierre-Yves [Ro­chon] was that we have to feel like we are at home, that it’s a fam­ily house, a place where we wel­come our friends,” she added. This is con­veyed through a mix of new fur­ni­ture with pieces found at the flea mar­ket and an­tique stores. Eschew­ing more tra­di­tional and im­pos­ing desks geared to­ward trans­ac­tions, the house opted for round ta­bles, de­signed by Ro­chon.

Mov­ing past the grand salon, the ground floor also in­cludes a spa­cious en­try­way, dec­o­rated with an elab­o­rate chan­de­lier drawn up by Ro­chon and made by Mai­son Lalique, that in­cludes birds carved from crys­tal. Fur­ther on, an in­ti­mate room lined with red lac­quered walls fea­tures an Asian mo­tif — pre­served in the build­ing since the 19th cen­tury — and in­cludes a hid­den door, freshly re­vived from a time when clients needed a dis­crete exit.

An en­tirely new space was built around the win­ter gar­den on the north side of the build­ing — the man­sion is fa­mous for its south­ern ex­po­sure — re­flect­ing the house founder’s ob­ses­sion with na­ture. A glass wall over­look­ing the vegetation rises up four sto­ries, bring­ing more light to the floors above.

Re­flect­ing the more per­sonal ap­proach sought by the house, visi­tors can take in the space from a sofa on the ground floor while sip­ping tea and tast­ing pas­tries specif­i­cally cho­sen for the site. Dishes and sil­ver­ware come from Bernar­daud and Christofle, while sales staff will wear out­fits de­signed by an up­scale Paris-based la­bel, Fête Im­péri­ale. Un­der­foot, cov­er­ing the mar­bled floor, is a rug with bright green leaf mo­tifs; round dis­play cases for the house’s an­i­ma­land vegetation-in­spired pieces are scat­tered throughout the space.

Watches are up­stairs, in a li­brary, now called the “salon de l’horlogerie.” More mas­cu­line, and dec­o­rated with tan leather­cov­ered fur­ni­ture to match the light brown book­cases, the for­mer of­fice for Boucheron de­scen­dants Alain and Gerard Boucheron is the only mez­za­nine level left in place.

Rooms on the sec­ond floor in­clude spa­ces for en­gage­ment pieces, with a win­dow-lined room de­voted to di­a­monds and high jew­elry.

The next space, the Salon des Fiancés, was re­stored to its orig­i­nal form, with white-and-gold mold­ing, his­tor­i­cal grand­ness off­set by a mod­ern beaded chan­de­lier by Mai­son Math­ieu.

At the end of the floor is a room des­ig­nated for draw­ing up made-tomea­sure pieces — cre­ative di­rec­tor Claire Choisne can trot down from up­stairs — and in­cludes a cozy sofa-lined nook in blue vel­vet; paint­ings and sketches clut­ter the walls.

The third floor, an events space that also serves as an apart­ment, has been named “Le 26.” Op­er­ated by the Ritz Ho­tel — con­ve­niently lo­cated across the square — the jew­elry house plans to wel­come its most VIP clients in the space, for a for­est-themed din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, or a full night. While the ex­pan­sive win­dows on the floors be­low give the im­pres­sion of be­ing on the Place Vendôme, visi­tors on the higher floor feel as if they are float­ing above it. Tucked to one side is a his­toric room with freshly ren­o­vated Chi­nese wall­pa­per from the 18th cen­tury — dom­i­nated with a celadon hue. At the other end of the build­ing, past the bed­room, is a vast bath­room, the bath­tub strate­gi­cally placed for soak­ing up the view — of the Vendôme Col­umn and the Eif­fel Tower.

“In its new con­fig­u­ra­tion, 26 Place Vendôme will en­able us to show who we are, where we come from and where we are head­ing,” Poulit-Duquesne said. “This is our home.”

An ex­ter­nal view of the Boucheron build­ing on Place Vendôme.

Boucheron’s“salon de créa­tions.”

The Salon des Fiançés on the sec­ond floor of Boucheron’s Place Vendôme flag­ship.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.