DRESSING HOMES

For most fashion brands, the expansion of their creative scope beyond clothing and into accessories is a given. For some, that energy continues into homeware and even furniture. While this leap into industrial design often gives pause for consideration, no such hesitation is required for Hermès. Since its debut, the Hermès home universe has reaffirmed a finesse already evident through the house’s fashion.

With their latest maison collection, Hermès recalls its roots in harness and saddle making, dressing objects and furniture to accentuate, revealing and functionalising forms through straps made in their trademark material, leather. Rather than the accessorising of generic furniture shapes with needless luxury, Hermès pairs the material properties of leather—flexible, strong, tactile—with clean, modern geometries, creating objects that are elegant, reinterpretive and minimalist. Leather transcends decoration, and although luxurious, it becomes structural. This language of leather, so traditional to Hermès, enables them to literally reshape objects from the simple coat hanger to the wine rack.

This speaks of the house’s dedication to innovation and exploration in design, clearly evident in their collaboration with renowned designers such as Pritzker Prize winning architect Alvaro Siza and industrial design studio BarberOsgerby. Siza’s contribution is the structural reinterpretation of a stool, made possible through combining bamboo with carbon fibre. BarberOsgerby presents Aes, their dramatic monolith of a coffee table cast in bronze, where the apparent simplicity of a singular form is enhanced through the careful finishing of its surface.

Through the marriage of traditional materials—leather, wood, brass, bamboo and bronze—with innovative construction and formal reinterpretation, Hermès keeps itself relevant in the fast-paced world of interior goods, without eschewing its philosophy of craftsmanship and refinement. This constant evolution of its design approach, paired with its famously theatrical window dressings and installations, displays the house’s willingness to update its identity.

Continuing its penchant for creative spatial presentations, Hermès has invited scenographers Jean-Christophe Vaillant and Hervé Sauvage to transform two levels of its Liat Towers store into an immersive installation showcase of  Hermès homeware. Drawing upon artist Gordon Matta-Clark’s (ana)architectural investigations, the showcase, titled Through the Walls and thus making this reference clear, promises to present both Hermès homeware and their spatial context of home in a new light. The alignment of Hermès and Matta-Clark, both interested in reinterpretation and perspective, is not incidental, but rather, an interesting dialogue through which our most intimate domestic spaces may be reconsidered.

Through the Walls opens to public from 7th to 29th October 2017 at Hermès, 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers, Singapore. Admission is free

Text by Qian Rou Tan