“Materials trace a line, permeate a motif, and delineate an object. Granite or porcelain, bamboo or leather, it is the materials that drive the dialogue between designers and artisans.” This was the principal belief that guided Hermès to a brilliantly immersive display for its home collection at Salone del Mobile in Milan this year.
Setting up their display designed by Charlotte Macaux Perelman at La Pelota in the Brera district, Hermès chose a direction rather contrary to last year’s high gloss tiles. Here, the experience was choreographed as a structured winding path that led to discovering goodies along the way.
Offering a tribute to material, Hermès’ palette of textures and colours was unusual, and a welcoming respite from the chaos of the Salone-time buzz of the city outside. The large, dimly lit hall was fitted with a convoluted maze of mid-height exposed stone walls. Compelled to begin at one end, the journey along this earthy-toned stonewalling was punctuated with clusters of vibrant products in a plethora of patterns, designs and artistic geometry.
Some favourites were:
Tomás Alonso’s ethereal lamps - the Spanish designer has conceived a series of lamps imbued with extreme lightness. He has reached this fragile and poetic equilibrium by combining bamboo, paper and coppered steel.
Barber & Osgerby’s porcelain and granite products - in granite or porcelain, intense black or translucent white, the Halo and Hécate lamps contrast with each other in perfect harmony. Created by British designers Barber & Osgerby, their archetypal forms play with the strengths of their respective materials.
Joséphine Ciaudo’s leather objects - the art of leather marquetry in the bright colours and contrasting patterns of the silk jackets worn by jockeys, these designs enhance the mahogany of the boxes. A meticulous combination of skins with smooth or textured grains.
Placed on precisely designed pedestals, Hermès celebrated the new collection and highlighted their signature patterns by imprinting them into beds of the finest sand. Almost deconstructing the material from the matter, one was encouraged to observe the details that went into making each piece – be it the fabric, leather, porcelain, stitching, hinges or carving, among the many others.