An endless world…. The project is imagined first as a shoebox volume slid into the ground floor of an existing ancient building in the Marais district of Paris. This box is designed so its façade facing a busy shopping street is created as one total window.
The inside space of this box is designed as a three-dimensional wooden grid that is carefully carved away to create a series of mysterious island and stalactite like elements that at once are shelves , tables and other equipment such as refrigerator or scenting columns. The inner sides: walls and ceiling of this space are designed to be mirrored stainless steel surfaces creating an effect of an endless complexity of virtual spaces reflecting the actual space of the spectator. One perfume bottle becomes a multitude of points within the city of light to be revealed and explored.
Light is a vital component of this project. A careful collaboration was made with the lighting designers l’Observatoire. The way in which light was bought into the project was by creating a series of cuts in the walls behind the shelves as well as the ceiling suspended light. This light source is concealed through backlit translucide panels. The ceiling spot lights are treated as direct light and introduced by creating the same kind of cuts but open and revealed. Finally embedded shelf lighting underlights each individual bottle.
The new boutique, rue des Francs Bourgeois by Frédéric Malle. Every new boutique represents a meeting of the minds, a collaboration between myself and a carefully chosen architect whose work I greatly admire. The goal is one of perfect artistic union, in which our two worlds collide and intertwine…
I’d always loved Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane’s work on the restaurant Georges at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. A futuristic fantasy, it remains to this day as perfect and unexpected as it was fifteen years ago. But it wasn’t until I revisited the Florence Loewy bookstore in the Marais, home to a Jakob + MacFarlanedesigned “hive” of plywood bookshelves, that it hit me: therein lay the spirit for our new Parisian boutique on the rue des Francs Bourgeois.
As someone who loves working with perfumers, like an editor at a publishing house, I immediately sensed – with the help of these great architects – that together we’d invent a new way to display our collections. So we talked about books and fragrances, about the labyrinth of the Jardin d’acclimatation, about illusion and infinity… Choosing a fragrance – a scent to call one’s own for years to come – means shielding oneself from the world’s restrictions, finding a space between what’s real and imagined. It requires comfort, silence and time.
Jakob + MacFarlane understood this perfectly. Their project envisioned a sort of box, slipped within the existing shell of a historic building in the Marais. Its interior resembles a carefully sculpted, three-dimensional grid, from which a series of mysterious islands – elements that become shelves, tables and refrigerated cabinets – emerge.
The flooring, walls and ceiling are covered in mirror, creating an effect of endless complexity and infinite reflections. The columns, there for smelling, experiencing and choosing one’s scent, are hidden in the walls. Finally, true to our tradition as a publishing house for perfume, portraits of our perfumers – our artists – hang in perfect synergy as the heart of our Maison.
The result is a space to sit, gaze, speak and be heard. A place where the soul’s relationship with the imagination can expand, filling every corner in infinite reflection – here, where time stands still.