Images: Dios Vincoy Jr / ST
After a 15-month renovation overhaul, Hermes’ flagship store at Liat Towers re-opens with a bigger standalone section for furniture and homeware accessories and an additional floor.
Located at the corner of Orchard Road and Angullia Park for the last 30 years, the revamped store now has four floors, sleek interiors and a stunning facade.
It has 670 sq m of retail and exhibition space.
Gone are the distinctive metallic slats that previously clad its exterior. The new clean, minimalist facade features windows of different heights and sizes, with angled recesses to shield the interiors from the tropical heat.
Custom-made tinted cedar wood Venetian blinds have been put in for the windows.
Other structural changes include the expansion of the store by 4m towards Angullia Park road and moving the main entrance to face this road. Customers can also enter the store from the side door facing Orchard Road.
The piece de resistance of the exterior is a regal statue of the iconic Hermes firework-maker on horseback that looks like it is galloping off the corner of the roof, with scarves fluttering in the wind.
Aside from one in Miami, Singapore is the only other store to have the horseman statue.
The others are at the five Maison Hermes around the world and the brand’s workshops in France and Switzerland.
The revamp has been a long time coming. The last one was in 2004.
Mr Alvin de Souza, managing director of Hermes Singapore, says: “Over the past 12 years, our collections have grown and we wanted room to express their diversity.”
Inside, the new space accommodates the French luxury fashion house’s stable of goods, ranging from clothes to writing materials and even a much larger section for equestrian wear and gear such as saddles.
But aside from the products, the store is an architectural beauty in itself. The revamp was done by Paris-based agency RDAI under the artistic direction of Mr Denis Montel.
On the first floor, Hermes shoppers can buy jewellery, watches and fragrances and browse through the men’s section.
Here, the walls have been smoothed over with chalky-hued Venetian plaster and its floors tiled in the famous mosaic pattern that covers the floors of the historic Hermes store at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris.
A section of the second floor is dedicated to Hermes’ writing instruments and stationery. Women can shop the ready-to- wear collection and pick up shoes, bags and scarves on this level too.
To mark the re-opening of the store, Hermes has released a limited-edition scarf by French artist Annie Faivre, which pays tribute to Singapore’s gardens in its design.
A space for art too
One floor up and it is Hermes’ furniture and homeware collection. Previously, the store carried only small pieces of furniture, some tableware and decorative objects.
Now on display are bigger items such as sofas decorated with throws and a leather-clad mahjong table. Shoppers can also browse Hermes’ wallpaper series and check out light fixtures and decorative items such as an origami horse in leather.
Art, a big part of the brand with the previous store having an art space called Third Floor – Hermes, now has a floor to itself.
The 111 sq m Aloft at Hermes is one of five art spaces around the world run by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermes, which supports a variety of arts initiatives and develops its own programmes such as exhibitions and artists’ residencies.
Multi-disciplinary artist Dawn Ng, 34, was picked to put on the first installation, How To Disappear Into A Rainbow. The Singaporean is best known for Walter, an inflatable rabbit installation that had popped up at various locations in Singapore, as well as her installation at modern French restaurant Odette at the National Gallery Singapore.
Thick panels in different heights and sizes are placed randomly to create a maze-like space. Each panel is painted a single pastel shade such as pale yellow and dusty rose, with mirrors down its sides.
Ng took inspiration from the colours that transpire at dawn. “The theme was to create something that looks at new perspectives and horizons. In an environment that often has things that shout for attention, I wanted to take (my work) in an opposite direction and do something that is child-like and naive.”
Admission to the art space is free. Ng’s work is on show till Aug 14.
A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on May 21, 2016. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.