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Earlier this month, Pierre Charpin’s window design for Hermès’ 690 and 691 Madison Avenue stores in New York was unveiled. The installation is part of the luxury house’s ongoing Vitrine D’Artiste program, and this year reflects its “Let’s Play” annual theme.
Charpin has collaborated for Hermès previously, designing furniture, objects, lacquer trays, and scarves—including this season’s La Serpentine 90cm silk carré. Whitewall spoke with the artist, who was given free reign for this project, about creating the dynamic 3D display and his earlier collaboration with the house.
WHITEWALL: Where did you start with the fall window design?
PIERRE CHARPIN: The invitation of Hermès to design a series of window installations on Madison Avenue was sort of a carte blanche with great freedom for me, which happened to coincide with the presentation of the scarf, La Serpentine, I designed for Hermès earlier this year.
WW: How did you want to translate the scarf into the vitrine instsallation?
PC: My thought was to create some sort of volume interpretations of the scarf based on the shapes and colors of the drawing and adapted to the configuration of each window. The challenge was to play with this change of scale of the original 2D design to make dynamic perspectives, and colors that rippled like a ribbon in the space.
WW: How did you want to play with volume and scale?
PC: The theme of the year for Hermès is “Let’s Play,” so the idea was to play with color, to play with shape, changing proportion, changing the scale.
WW: What kind of materials did you gravitate towards for this project?
PC: In the same way as the scarf, which combines the emblematic and historic horse figure with my drawing, I wanted the windows to have a strong visual impact for the people who pass by and to be a joyful and colorful marriage between the Hermès collections and my visual and formal language.
WW: You’ve designed trays and scarves for Hermes before. Could you tell us about the very first piece you designed for the house?
PC: For my first collaboration with Hermès, I started to design objects. They called on me to design lacquer design objects for Hermès Home design in 2015. After that, they asked me to enlarge the collection of lacquer objects and also to design an ashtray.