A wonderful Christmas present for the Mantua-based Italian fashion brand Corneliani, who opens – during the Christmas season – its new Paris Flagship store, in the heart of the city.
We have had the pleasure to design and realize the store, a commitment which deeply involved us.
The project for the parisian flagship store is based on two principles – as it always happens with Ermesponti bespoke interiors approach
First principle comes straight from the very own brand identity: let’s not forget we are speaking about a flagship store, which requires a full and adequate representation of the brand. The second principle is more an architectural one, and is all about putting the Corneliani brand into the right context: the center of the French capital, which, is of course, a place of immense and unique personality. Furthermore, the specific location is a rather important one, right in the middle of the fashion district – the “golden triangle” – between the Champs Elysées, Avenue Montaigne e Rue Georges V.
The challenge of designing and realizing the Corneliani Flagship store in Paris had two specific aspects: the emphasis on the brand identity, and the very special context of the city, accordingly to the “Genius Loci” principles.
We have taken advantage from the façade, which – being the “face of the building” – has been designed by us to be a very special “filter” among the two strong personalities represented by the environment (city) and the brand (store).
As you can see in these images, portraying the store before our work, the exceptional dimensions (4+ meters high) of the single window – entrance of the store – have suggested us to consider it and design it as a “façade in the façade”. A marble portal all around emphasizes – as with a frame – the “window on Paris” of the Mantua brand: almost a painting signed Corneliani.
Since the first time we visited the location, we have pinpointed the strong focus of the project, in terms of visibility. The higher part of the window-façade was actually a problem, both inside (with ceilings too high) and outside (with the need for a sunlight filter). On a functional level, a screen element was needed, something the Frenchmen call brise-soleil.
Our choice has been to go for a functional solution that could be iconic as well… in this way.
We have designed a sort of a “Corneliani Cloud”. A real, stratified cloud of Mantegna rings, which remind immediately of the Corneliani brand pattern, and of the beautiful cultural heritage of the city of Mantua, where the brand is based.
The corporate brand pattern is strongly emphasized and multiplied by 7 intersected layers of rings, well illuminated by LED light bars. In addition to all this, we have many more layers, for light distribution and fine control.
It took months and months of prototyping in Ermesponti bespoke interiors laboratories to test the lightest materials, the combinations and orientations of lights, and all the related details.
The window-façade becomes a tridimensional element, light, transparent and shiny, almost a membrane… you can compare it with some sort of filter (or fog as in Mantua?), not only to see through, but also… to walk through!
The rings have been realized with a brand new, very innovative and super-light material, made with an aluminum sandwich-structure (D-bond). The connections have been made with over 4,000 meters of tape, with a special golden-looking textile cover. (Everyone at Ermesponti bespoke interiors has done at least a couple of hundred meters…)..
The final effect makes you think of an update of the famous Parisian “grilles”, but also of the metallic structure of the French icon par excellence – the Eiffel Tower, or of some contemporary façade such as Jean Nouvel’s Arab World Institute.
As a result, the Italian Fashion brand’s presence in Paris is now a very recognizable one, and it expresses its powerful strength by means of its brand pattern, which roots itself in the Italian Rennaissance. And while doing so, Corneliani brings such an important heritage on a very familiar plan, close to everyone passing by in the street, fitting in very well in the Parisian sensibility and culture.
And once he gets through the Mantegna cloud, the visitor finds himself inside the store, in a quadrangular hall (the long side of which is actually the façade) and quickly recognizes all the typical materials of the brand concept.
The floor is in grey imperial marble; the brand wall is covered with tiles of macassar ebony, basket-like intersected as in a precious textile; the logo is on a black carbon fiber plate. Recesses and boiserie in shiny ebony with a suede leather, light-coloured background are high and majestic and give some nice grand-style proportions to the hall.
This hall is dedicated to the top collection of the brand – ID – the modernity of which will be emphasized by every single detail of the showcase element. An example? The shelves in ebony with a linoleum top in mauve colour, worked at a 45° angle, with inox steel edge.
The cashier area is situated inside the shirt and accessory shop, well visible from the nearby entrance. The generous dressing room for this hall is aside, in the left corner.
On the opposite part of the store, a side room with a lowered ceiling is an intermediate space towards the VIP Area
in the back.
This part of the space has an irregular geometry, emphasized by the recesses, dedicated to specific products: sweaters, ties, shoes, formal dress. On the background you can notice a recess dedicated to the bespoke collection by Corneliani, which is very high-profile and renowned, among the fashion savvy, the world over. A small desk has been provided for selected customers, to sit down and choose the fabric they prefer.