Qatar‘s luxurious shopping destination of Place Vendôme in Doha is now home to Hermès‘ biggest one-floor store in the world. Unveiled today, the sprawling space of over 600 square meters is abundant with details inspired by the country and its historical landmarks, and materials hand-picked specifically for the store.
The store is set between the desert and the sea, and is flooded with natural light from the double-height windows on the exterior walls, which are complemented by its interiors of marble and stone in cream and white, contrasting with amber and earthy tones. Other rare textures spotted in the store include sculptural waves on the ceiling, made to mirror sand dunes in the nearby inland sea of Khor Al Udaid, while the terrazzo’s hand-laid inserts with marble, mother of pearl, and pearlescent seashells evoke the rock carvings of Al Jassasiya. The store façade itself, with its hand-hewn travertine walls, is reminiscent of the wind-carved limestone rock formations at Ras Abrouq in the Northwest of the country.
Customers will find all 16 métiers of the house, including beauty, homeware, accessories, and more at the store. Designed by Parisian architecture agency RDAI, it features an area dedicated to Hermès‘ much-loved silk pieces, which also serves as the axis of the rest of the store which can be accessed in three directions. Each space, or “universe” as the house dubs it, comes equipped with VIP salons for one-of-a-kind service. To the left, the watch and jewelry métiers are present in two successive intimate salons, and across the equestrian and men’s silk collections are men’s ready-to-wear and accessories. On the right, customers will find a series of rooms going through to the leather goods, and homeware, before arriving at the womenswear universe. Colored in rich amber and honey hues, it features hand-painted embossed wallpaper with palm-frond motifs.
Step outside the store, and customers will be greeted by a private garden that comes alive with lush greenery and flowers selected by Hermès’ in-house perfumer Christine Nagel. Also elevating the store’s uniqueness and grandeur are a number of art pieces that position the new Hermès store as one with the most artworks in the world. Besides the hard-to-miss life-size sculpture of a blue horse by French artist Assan Smati, are artworks from the private collections of the Hermès family, and Wissam Al Mana, managing director of Qatar’s Al Mana Group, which operates Hermès in the Middle East. Among other artwork are earthenware vases by artist Julian Stair, a winged horse by sculptor Christian Renonciat, and repurposed works created by the late Tunisian designer Leïla Menchari for the windows of the 24 Faubourg Saint Honoré store in Paris.
Present alongside Al Mana at the opening of the store today, Florian Craen, Hermès’ executive vice-president—sales and distribution, welcomed journalists and clients with a speech that spoke to the store’s individuality. “It is always very very emotional—much more than you think. We don’t have that many stores in the world—we have 300 stores and each one of them is different, and this one is special in many ways,” he said. “It is one of six in the Middle East and the one and only store we have in Qatar. It has taken eight years of talks, and months and years of construction. So, for us, it is an end of a very long story as well as a new chapter.”