The World Traveller’s Ultimate Destination
The Louis Vuitton Maison in Shanghai’s Plaza 66 was inaugurated on July 21, 2012. Designed by architect Peter Marino, this Maison pays homage to new horizons and new experiences in elegant travel. Its soaring, light-filled space features four floors which are divided into distinct areas, each with their own texture and flavor. The store brings together a blend of local objects and artworks alongside foreign artist’s interpretations of China to create a sophisticated, international perspective. As the first Louis Vuitton Maison in Mainland China and the sixteenth in the world, Louis Vuitton at Shanghai Plaza 66 invites visitors on an exciting and stylish new adventure.
By incorporating art and travel in its newest Maison, Louis Vuitton invites Chinese visitors to discover a new experience and begin a voyage that is filled with heritage, craftsmanship and creativity. “China’s rich cultural heritage and its people’s inherent love of beauty have made this country a natural home for Louis Vuitton for 20 years,” said Chairman and CEO Yves Carcelle. “Shanghai is one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic cities, and with this groundbreaking new Maison, Louis Vuitton brings the energy of the local and international art scene together with our natural passion for beauty and excellence. By pushing the retail environment into a new territory, the Maison Louis Vuitton Shanghai creates a new and truly unique customer experience.”
Inspirational Architecture: Exciting Views From Every Angle
Distinctive for its new design elements and concepts, the Maison Louis Vuitton Shanghai showcases exceptional works by artists at the forefront of the contemporary art scene, as well as a selection of custom-made iconic furniture.
In order to capture the vitality and movement of Shanghai, architect Peter Marino has brought together a wide range of colors and textures that reflect the spirit of Louis Vuitton and the vibrancy of this city. Brimming with creativity and surprises, the Maison can be entered on two levels – from the street or from the shopping center.
The façade of the new Maison, designed by Louis Vuitton Architecture department, overlooks Nanjing road in an area famous for its 1930s Art Deco buildings. Located at the entrance of Plaza 66 shopping center, the impressive and striking façade is an interpretation of the wood screens that gently filter light in traditional Chinese gardens and uses metal and glass to create an interlocking mesh of white flowers, echoing Louis Vuitton’s famous Monogram. This scintillating, bright and light-filled façade stretches up to the top of the building to create a vertical garden across three storeys. In this landmark building at the heart of the vibrant city of Shanghai, Louis Vuitton has brought together real tress to work in perfect harmony with the lit petals of a mesh screen, so that the façade is a garden of light that opens onto the street and welcomes visitors with warmth and optimism.
Planted terraces adjacent to the men’s and women’s fashion areas on the second and third floors offer a view overlooking Nnajing West Road. These, along with a third, and decorative garden terrace on the fourth-floor VIP level, draw natural light into the store interior and add to the lushness of the view from both inside and outside the building. A small, split-level terrace outside the men’s fashion area is decorated with potted fern pines that enliven and freshen this space. A larger terrace outside the women’s fashion area features several outward-facing seating areas bordered by another row of fern pines.
The building’s terraces designed by Louis Vuitton Architecture Department, planted with 61 fern pine trees create a lush vertical landscape while filtering the southern sunlight towards the store.
New Worlds on Every Floor
On the ground level, onyx flooring complements the colors of the iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram in areas including men’s and women’s leather goods, luggage, watches and jewelry, Haute Maroquinerie displays and rare & exceptional products. The luggage area is finished in gold leaf, while hand-inlaid straw marquetry in the jewelry area, which echoes the Louis Vuitton signature, and metal mesh walls enclose the rare & exceptional product area.
To emphasize the exclusivity of its products, the leather goods area is kept clean of display counters in favor of central seating, a concept design to foster a more leisurely shopping experience. Nearby, a circular accessories room features enticing displays of sunglasses, scarves and fashion jewelry.
At the center of the store stands the grand staircase which connects all of its public levels. An oval design in champagne gold metal, this structure is not just the literal heart of the store; it also represents a technical feat in its own right, as its configuration, geometry and materials all require extremely precise mastery. At the foot of the staircase sits a sculpture by Chinese artist Qui Zhijie: the tallest of a trio of works called “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon (2012)” and inspired by West Lake in Hangzhou. Stretching between the polished metal sculpture and the oval skylight above, the grand staircase appears almost weightless. Other artworks include the installation, “Yellow Mountains (2012)” by Teresita Fernández in the watches and jewelry area, and travel-themed photographs by Jean Larivière at service desks.
As visitors ascent to the second floor, they arrive in the men’s fashion area, which features two men’s show salons and, for the first time in China, a shoe and belt Made-to-Order area. This space features an untitled installation by Anselm Reyle (2009). Other new elements include a dedicated space for the Louis Vuitton Cup themed area, which showcases the House’s high performance sporting range, and a dedicated room for men’s business wear, housing made to measure suits and formalwear. This room has the feel of a private home, with special furniture including Paul Evans tables, Quistgaard chairs and Rolan Melon metal tables. Comfortable seating desks, and a “bar” area featuring men’s leather goods complete the decidedly male domain.
An oval skylight illuminates the third-floor women’s fashion spaces, which center on a presentation area where mannequins display the latest ready-to-wear fashions. To the left of the staircase, the lacquer and gold-finish women’s shoe salon faces a rare and exceptional salon enclosed in metal mesh; three Haute Maroquinerie niches recall the dedicated salon on he fourth-floor Apartment.
A new concept for Louis Vuitton is played out in the women’s fashion section of the store. Here, reflective surfaces, glossy floors and framed hanging pieces create a light, gallery-like mood which is complemented by colorful backdrops, custom wallpapers, carpets and furniture in a spice and copper palette evoking travel to exotic destinations. Featured artworks include “Pistil (2006)” a group of collages by Lionel Estève. Modular furnitures and lighting allow high flexibility in the way that products are displayed and highlighted. Custom wallpapers created from works of art such as “Kaleidoscope House (2010)” by artist Laurie Simmons and architect Peter Wheelwright, and “New York Times Headlines (2010)” by A.J. Bocchino decorate the fitting rooms. Additionally, in this store of surprises, tucked behind the ready-to-wear section is a playful, loft-like space known as The Salon, which offers the cosiness of a salon yet feels like a private apartment and is decorated with Sornay chairs, custom stone tables and other exotic materials.
Accessible by invitation only, the fourth-floor is home to the main Haute Maroquinerie area. Known as the Apaprtment, it is decorated like a luxurious private residence, with custom furniture by Peter Marino; a carefully chosen selection of pieces by Paul Evans, George Mathias and Alasdair Cooke; hand-woven and embroidered Laotian curtains; Montano stools and Dubreuil side tables and lamps. This open-plan space may also be sectioned off into private suites in order to receive guests requiring a more private experience.
As they exit the elevator leading to the fourth-floor Apartment, guests are greeted by “Superstructure (2011)”: a wall sculpture by Chinese artist Gao Weigang; three photographs from the “Ten Thousand Waves” (2010) series by Isaac Julien and “Zelda (2004)”: a unique painting by Bernard Frize.
Images via Stéphane Muratet / Louis Vuitton