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Creativity Celebrated at the refurbished HERMÈS Boutique in Athens
After six months of meticulous renovation work, an enchanting metamorphosis has taken place at the Hermès store in downtown Athens.

Situated on the coveted corner of Voukourestiou Street and Stadiou Avenue, the store has been expanded to span 158 square meters of retail space, completely refurbished and fitted to reflect the Maison’s dedication to superior craftsmanship and bespoke luxury. The official opening of the store took place on 3 April 2017. On the same day, a specially commissioned installation by artist Socratis Socratous was unveiled in the shop’s windows, signalling an exciting season full of contemporary art in the city.

Responsible for the design and renovation of the space is RDAI, the Parisian architecture firm under the artistic direction of Denis Montel, a firm also in charge of the design of all Hermès stores worldwide.

Monument (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Life-size horse head evocative of a zoomorphic drinking vessel object.

Hermès opened its Athens store on 1 November 2005, on the ground floor of a magnificent listed building from the 1930’s, right in the heart of the city’s most exclusive shopping area. The store moved to the nearby Valaoritou Street in the summer of 2016, to allow the renovation works to take place in the landmark boutique on Voukourestiou Street. Large panels bearing Hermès’ signature orange colour concealed the works happening inside, which combined a floor-to-ceiling renovation and the addition of a 50-square-meter expansion. Responsible for the design and renovation of the space is RDAI, the Parisian architecture firm under the artistic direction of Denis Montel, a firm also in charge of the design of all Hermès stores worldwide.

An Exciting New Experience

Upon entering the massive door on the store’s corner, the visitor is greeted by an impressive mosaic floor in beige and teal bearing the Maison’s logo. From here, one can admire almost all of Hermès’ métiers in a single glance, organised in three distinct areas. First is the L-shaped entrance area, showcasing jewellery, watches, tableware, women’s silk and perfumes. This area has wide openings to the arcades surrounding the store. The second area occupies the heart of the shop, and hosts the men’s ready-to-wear area, the ties section, a selection of silk scarves, men’s shoes and accessories. In the far end of the shop, a third area corresponds to the brand new extension, and presents leather bags, small leather goods, equestrian items, as well as the women’s ready-to-wear collection, shoes and accessories.

Upon entering the massive door on the store’s corner, the visitor is greeted by an impressive mosaic floor in beige and teal bearing the Maison’s logo.

In the far end of the shop, a third area corresponds to the brand new extension, and presents leather bags, small leather goods, equestrian items, as well as the women’s ready-to-wear collection, shoes and accessories.

Highlighting the superior craftsmanship and hand-made artistry of all Hermès creations on display, understated design materials have been used throughout the shop that excite both vision and touch: exquisite Marmorino has been used for the walls, European cherry wood in satin matte finish for the furniture, and all ironwork has been given a hairline finish. Meanwhile, sumptuous fabrics have been used to line store windows and displays, and fine leather covers the counter in the leather goods section. Signature Hermès patterns and elements can be seen throughout, as for example the traditional Grecques light fixtures; these unique pieces were specially designed for Hermes in 1925, and now illuminate the leather and women’s ready-to-wear area. All the seating in the store comes from the Shanghai line, designed by RDAI exclusively for Hermès, and upholstered in leather in a variety of colours.

Ducks at play (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Zoomorphic vessel objects with participating figures of dogs and ducks.

A compelling Artistic Collaboration - Socratis Socratous - "Zoomorphism – Reimagining Personal Mythologies"

To mark the reopening of Hermès’ landmark Athenian boutique, the Maison commissioned Cypriot-born artist Socratis Socratous to bring the store’s windows to life with a specially designed installation. An inspired interpretation of Hermès’ 2017 theme of ‘Object Sense’, the installation revisits the recurrent theme of zoomorphism as found in Mediterranean cultures and combines it with the Maison’s imagery and philosophy. Each store window is metamorphosed into a unique habitat reminiscent of an oneiric mythological scene, where ancient iconography converse with Hermès’ creations and their inherent aesthetic qualities. Constructed with diverse materials such as iron and bronze, Socratous’ objects engage in an active dialogue with those by Hermès, and generate a stimulating and thought-provoking narrative that ebbs and flows between the imaginary and the real. 

Credits

Photography
Vangelis Paterakis
Stathis Mamalakis

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Polis Ioannou


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