los angeles: hermès store renewal

© hermès / photography: frank oudeman

hermès has had a prominent presence on iconic rodeo drive since 1972. raising its profile in the city, the french luxury house has once again expanded the flagship's floor space and revamped it along the way with the help of longtime collaborator, paris-based architecture practice rdai. originally long and somewhat narrow, additional floors had been created around a grand rectangular atrium, creating the blueprint of sorts of the store's new configuration and look. signaling the transformation from afar starts is the store exterior. hermès had requested to make the windows as open and large as possible, but at the same time also to protect the store interior from the burning california sun.

to overcome the façade's asymmetrical structural supports underneath, the rows of windows retained their different heights and widths, but by recessing all of them to the same depth of one meter, not only instant regularity was created but also a dimensional coherence. obviously, these recessed windows also offer increased shelter from the sunlight while the white marble cladding reflects a cooler light into the store. the only way to increase floor space - the main objective of the flagship's drastic renovation - was to install a staircase inside the atrium. this could only be done by reducing its diameter but, to retain it as the interior'sfocal point, the staircase has been given a rather stunning spiraling shape.

the overall redesign of the hermès flagship has been kept clean and simple in terms of configuration. a long wall of subtle, undulating curves sends a wave, a ripple effect, through the store, and along the entire back wall of every floor, a built-in bookcase with kinetically arranged cubbies piques shoppers' interest in the products displayed. the interior's themes and materials - of which much has been retained - reference the hermès flagship store in the french capital: the basket-weave mosaic floor tiles, the greek friezes that frame the lighting, and the use of matte stone and cherry wood. the renewed flagship store carries hermès' complete range of products, including its furniture line. to commemmorate the reopening of the store, the luxury brand's artisans have crafted a limited-edition collection of special retail items. location: 434 north rodeo drive [beverly hills].

© hermès / photography: frank oudeman