Sunday, May 16, 2010

Avenue des Champs Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, lined with clipped horse chestnut trees, luxury shops, cinemas and cafés.  At the corner of Champs Élysées and Avenue George V stands the seven-story flagship store of Louis Vuitton, a stunning combination of Art Deco, modern architecture, and contemporary art. The opulent interior is the result of the collaboration of American architect Eric Carlson, who opened up the interior structure to create a spiral of floors, and the brilliant architect and designer, Peter Marino.  The displays are pristine — each bag, suitcase, shoe, displayed as a precious sculpture, lit to capture its beauty.  The LVs, the four petal flower, all iterations of the logo grace every item, seriously or playfully, to create a kaleidoscope of branding genius. There is a "traveling staircase", the escalator that slides you along a video wall of soft changing ethereal images.  The most surprising element is the atrium, Peter Marino's  20 meter high "waterfall" of sculptured steel rods and mirrors that create a dizzying and magical effect.  The piece was inspired by the Parisian fountains.  It has 1800 reflective rods, which, if stretched from end to end, would reach from this flagship store to the original Louis Vuitton atelier, and not surprisingly from these gifted designers, the store is 1800 square meters. Louis Vuitton has expressed the art  and heart of travel in this sensual ad / film by Bruno Aveillan.  The ad is here.  The longer film version is here. Beaux voyages.

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