Dior opens its renovated 30 Avenue Montaigne and with it, a new Paris landmark is born.
“Joyfulness, happiness, gravity, and visual pleasure,” remarks starchitect Peter Marino. These are the emotions he hopes clients to the newly renovated Dior 30 Avenue Montaigne boutique will experience. If gravity stands out, there’s a reason – the space is nothing short of astronomical in size, at 10 000 sqm across seven floors. The expanse is further pronounced by a 303 inch rose pointing upwards to the heavens of luxury, signed Isa Genzken, and which fi rst featured in Qatar at the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition. If Marino has signed fashion boutiques the world over, as well as luxury hotels (most recently the Cheval Blanc in Paris), he considers this achievement in a rank of its own. “It was the first boutique of Monsieur Dior,” he says of the 8th arrondissement address. “Moreover, this historic 18th century facade is Louis XVI, le siècle d’or. So, I would say that this project is different from the previous ones in a way that it is closer to Christian Dior’s real spirit.”
A black and white photograph of Monsieur Dior hanging inside the boutique reminds what a personal and intimate space this is. A private mansion built in 1865 by Count Colonna-Walewski, a son of Napoleon I, it was inaugurated as the house of Christian Dior in 1946. The address was chosen for its modern proportions, understated setting, and neoclassical facade. In his total restr ucturing of space, Marino comments that “form and functionality ” serve as his parameters. “I’m always jealous of fashion designers because their visions are realized so quickly,” he says. “Architectural construction is painfully long.” Marino, who founded his namesake firm in New York in 1978 and who has collaborated with the maison Dior for more than 25 years, has nonetheless persevered at creating flagships in London, Seoul, Tokyo, and Los Angeles.
Although Marino’s world is synonymous with fashion – his relationship with LVMH dates decades – his inspirations often come from the world of art. For the Dior boutique, he commissioned numerous pieces: there is a custom wall collage by Guy Limone using archival Dior photos and a mirror glass wall sculpture by Claudia Weiser. On the ground floor there is a video installation by Jennifer Steinkamp; a commissioned sculpture by Johan Creten; wall panels by Sophie Coryndon; and custom elevator doors by Nancy Lorenz, to name a few.
The entry features abstract white leaves falling freely in space by Paul Cocksedge. Ask Marino to choose the crown jewel of the space and he responds that while he considers everything unique, an exceptional feat is that it is now a multilevel store. “It is a journey through the inner essence of the brand, expressed through the architecture, interior design, and experience of each space. It’s not one idea throughout, but rather a walk-through space that tells a story that keeps the customer engaged and emotionally connected with Dior from start to finish. It’s about creating environments that allow the customer to explore the brand in a beautiful, immersive, delightful way. Dior is about beauty and femininity – we’ve added gardens, white silk curtains, and his favorite, 18th century parquet de Versailles,” he shares
A look into the past doesn’t stop at the parquet, however. Venture down the staircase and experience La Galerie Dior, an exhibition space which honors the work of Monsieur Dior and his successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Here, discover numerous curiosities, including a metal star that Dior once tripped on in the street, and which he chose as good fortune – and a symbol of the house to this day. Should hunger strike, look no further than the boutique’s Jean Imbert-helmed restaurant featuring a color-splash art wall by French artist Guy Limone.
Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia