Art house: Louis Vuitton Maison homes in on the arts

26 : 05 : 2010 London : Maison : Louis Vuitton

London – Four years in the making, Louis Vuitton has transformed its New Bond Street flagship store into a luxury ‘Maison’ complete with a host of art installations.

The store, created after consultation with LS:N Global’s parent company, The Future Laboratory, was curated as ‘the most luxurious Louis Vuitton store to date’, according to designer Peter Marino. The three floors over 1,500 square metres were conceived as the home of a collector, who loves only the best and rarest pieces of art. Visitors will find pieces by Gilbert & George, Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami.

In its own space in the menswear department on the lower floor is ‘Credit Card Destroying Machine’, an industrial-looking, moving sculpture by Michael Landy. On the first floor is a book store featuring limited-edition artists’ notebooks with covers by Gary Hume and Anish Kapoor, as well as rare collectibles and fine art prints.

Further highlights include an LED-lit staircase linking the store’s three floors and the ‘bag bar’, which features a moving wall display of Louis Vuitton handbag classics interchanging before the viewer’s eyes and inspired by funfair games. On the womenswear floor is an exhibition space with a small army of mannequins dressed in ready-to-wear collections from the past 10 years, curated by Louis Vuitton stylist and collaborator Katie Grand. The heritage of Louis Vuitton’s trunks is displayed through a two-storey wall installation at the entrance of the store. Beyond are rooms dedicated to today’s luggage, as well as to jewellery, watches, exotic skins and leather goods.

‘London is one of the most important fashion and cultural cities in the world, and brings together heritage and innovation,’ says Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton. ‘Opening a Maison in London is an expression of our belief and optimism in the future of this city.’

As previously reported on LS:N Global, this sentiment is further explored with Louis Vuitton’s recent announcement of its new Young Arts Project.

Louis Vuitton’s new London Maison points to the need for modern retail to become increasingly about experience over selling products. The message is simple: this is a house not a store.

For more on the importance and impact of creating maisons, look out for our ‘Maison Microtrend’, which will be posted on our Trend section on Monday. And see the report on this week’s LS:N Global Retail Networking Afternoon to read more about how smart retailers are putting products second, and making the experience their primary concern.

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