Petit H

Pop-up Store / Hermès
Architecture / Interior Design

The Petit H pop-up shop at Hermès Chiado, in Lisbon, aimed to celebrate their collection of capricious, resourceful and whimsical one-of-a-kind products for a special event in 2018. The Petit H atelier invites artisans to work with in-house designers, and they collaborate on new ideas that put fabric scraps and various production “leftovers” from the Hermès brand to creative use as bags, gadgets, toys, stationery, furniture, jewelry and accessories. Given the Petit H mission, our point of departure was the figure of the artisan himself, and a wish to wander within his internal imaginative universe.

The extant upper floor above the Chiado shop was a nondescript office space. We stripped down the ceiling, walls and floor, exposing all surfaces to start from scratch. Starting with a ground of dark slate blue for the walls and ceiling and a floor-carpet in a blend of wool and silk in light ash blue, we began to create cells of space-in-space from the inside out. The main focus is a three-dimensional, part-spiral ellipse constructed from a cork core with wood cladding and set into the center of the room, rising part way to the ceiling. From this base structure, in a subtractive construction process, we extracted arched openings, creating portals and niches and cubbies and peepholes, and then – in the minimal-waste spirit of Petit H – we then used the extracted cork-and-wood pieces to form pedestals, platforms, doors and shelves. Each niche was drawn to accommodate a specific product, all of them with different shapes and sizes. Doors, mirrors, and other elements open and close to reveal and conceal whimsical objects in a layered game of visibility and invisibility, offering and suggestion, seeing and discovery. Jewelry nestles into the nooks and crannies of a treasure trunk, which visitors can probe and explore by way of integrated lenses, magnifying glasses, mirrors and tantalizingly tiny drawers.

Passing outside of the ellipse, a visitor enters into the distinctively dramatic workshop area, which is backed by scenographic curtains to block out natural light and dominated by a monolithic custom-designed Portuguese heritage cork table. Above the table, a suspended grid echoes its shape and displays a collection of objects and tools (also made from cork) that recall the life and work of the craftsman.

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