For its Petit h sale in Geneva, Maison Hermès has for the first time invited Students from the HEAD— Genève to create the showcase for its collection. Students at the Geneva University of Art and Design have developed a comprehensive design, including invitation cards, window displays, signage, set design, ingenious display units and immersive fitting rooms.
The creation of Petit h objects stems from a unique process, bringing together the ‘magical’ touch of a variety of trades within Maison Hermès, including exceptional craftspeople and knowledgeable experts, and artists and designers commissioned to design new functional objects.
Much like Petit h’s creative laboratory that matches materials with know-how, ‘Petit h fait son cinema’ (lit. Petit h does its cinema) takes visitors behind the scenes of a film studio and into a factory that creates original stories. The Petit h objects become actors, the protagonists of unusual adventures, who play the main role in short sketches that unfurl in dreamlike landscapes all the way down to the ground floor.
The set design reinterprets the technical codes of studios: the window displays adopt the 16:9 ratio of technicolour Hollywood films; the shape of the tubular structures draws a text box that resemble title cards in silent films; and the omnipresent blue tones cover surfaces as in special effects studios.
In the hallway, thanks to this inlaying process and by echoing the animation in the window displays, visitors see themselves immersed in the fluffy and abstract stretches of a film.
Graphic identity of the event:
Clients receive an envelope at home inviting them to the latest sale of Petit h in Geneva. The envelope’s white texture is reminiscent of a cinema screen. Turning the envelope over, they discover a stark pink colour and a sticker with abstract serpentine shapes. After opening the envelope, the blue tone is a nod to the blue-screen technology used by film studios. A subtle and delicate piece of silk paper contrasts with the envelope. A big and intriguing silkscreen print is wrapped around the card: a square of silk paper that one can keep and hang on one’s wall.
After removing the silk paper from the envelope, clients read the information on an invitation card on the back of which part of the silkscreened poster also features. Much like Petit h plays with materials and combines trade and know-how, readers discover a bold typeface based on the power of associations and stories. Lÿno plays on a series of combinations that includes four different typefaces, each evoking a striking and recognisable universe that refers to cinema.
The display windows:
Thanks to optical illusions and false perspectives that give the impression that the display windows are bigger and deeper than they really are, the objects of Petit h are staged as the heroes of their own adventures. The swaying rhythm of the deliberately abstract animations mesmerises passers-by. In each window display, much like in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo in which the protagonist calls out to a viewer played by Mia Farrow who comes out of the screen to kiss her, objects come to meet passers-by. Like little stuntmen or explorers, the objects are the heroes of a story that calls upon the imagination of passers-by.
The indoor set design:
Once in the store, clients find themselves inside a special effects studio, of course blue all over, from the carpet to the velvet curtains to the walls.
The Petit h sales room is divided into several areas: the main stage, the Cinema Box, the immersive hallway, the smaller stages, the packaging and the bolero. As a reinterpretation of the 16:9 ratio of films, the display units showcase small objects. In order to display other objects, metallic structures echo the movements simulated in the display windows. Magnetic hooks have also been developed to support shelves or to display small objects.
In the hallway, thanks to blue-screen technology, visitors can see themselves immersed in the fluffy and abstract stretches of a film. The screen is set up in the middle of the hallway with the camera on the left-hand side. When clients walk through, they are filmed and see themselves in real time on the screen. This functional device is mainly used as a mirror for clients to try on scarves and jewellery.
The bolero, which does not hamper movement, is a piece of fabric added to the salespeople’s uniform. A pair of blue sleeves are added to the blazer so that, when they stand in the immersive hallway, their arms disappear on screen.
Project in collaboration with Emma Pflieger, Shu-hua Chang, Julien Baiamonte,
Damien Duparc, Anne Dousset, Elodie Wismer, Pierre Barada and Sergio Jaramillo.
© HEAD - Genève / Michel Giesbrecht
© Julien Baiamonte