Milan Design Week 2018: A show of glitter and colour at Hermes

A plunge into a kaleidoscope of rich and comforting colours – that is perhaps the best way to describe the experience of navigating through Hermes’ multihued wonderland at the recent Milan Design Week.

A presentation so unforgettable requires a site as impressive,
 and playing host to the occasion
 is the 137-year old Museo della Permanente, the cultural centre for the society of fine arts and permanent exhibition, in Milan.

Here in the hallowed halls of the former palace, an entourage from the luxury French maison laboured for three weeks, in order to transform the spaces into an enchanting labyrinth 
of towering pavilions.

From equestrian flair to interior finesse

Founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermes, the lauded house of high fashion grew from humble origins, first as a maker of high-quality wrought harnesses and then as a producer of fine saddlery. Over time, it was the creation of the Kelly, followed by the Birkin, that catapulted the maison into the stratosphere of luxury goods, fashion and apparel.

However, its meteoric rise across social strata hasn’t changed the core philosophy of the 
brand, which places emphasis 
on well-honed craftsmanship, attention to detail and a
 relentless pursuit of perfection.

In 2011, Hermes made a formal entry into the world of furniture design, launching a full-fledged collection in collaboration with Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Since then, it hasn’t slowed its momentum of launching collections for the home during Milan Design Week.

A village of colours

At the latest edition of the Italian city’s design festival held in April, Hermes ups the ante with a large-scale installation, establishing it
 as an exemplary home furnishing solution, not just a fashion brand doling out token chairs on the side.

One of the most striking highlights is the sheer amount of tiles specially shipped in. In all, 150,000 Moroccan zellige (small glazed ceramic square) tiles clad the seven block-like pavilions, as well as the entrance foyer within the museum.

Conceived by Charlotte Macaux Perelman, co-artistic director of Hermes Maison, and Alexis Fabry, the pavilions are each draped in a different colour. At a glance, the scene resembles a city of glittering adobe-style towers so brilliant in their glow that it makes one wonder if they are a mirage.

“We wanted to work with scale. Most of the pieces this year are small so we created towering structures; the height is emphasised by the use of stairs in the scenography (designed by Herve Sauvage),” Charlotte explains.

Doorways lead in and out
 of rooms within the towers, allowing visitors to weave through corridors, from one colour-
filled setting to another. Amid
 this unusual chromaticism,
the new collections for the 
home – comprising small
 objects, furnishings, fabrics and wallpapers – are presented.

The Perimetre series comprises a mix of vases and trays, with designs drawn from a combination of natural motifs and patterns inspired by the urban landscape. 

The Pli'H comprises trays and desk accessories. Each item is made from a single piece of thick bridle leather, in a rich brick hue. Precision cut, the joints are stitched with four white saddle stitches. 

Plaid collection: Hermes also unveiled six plaid designs, with geometric and equestrian themes, woven from full cashmere, as well as a mix of cashmere and merino wool. 

Oria d'Hermes chair: Viewed from the side, the chair's silhouette features the letter H - one of Hermes's icons - in a timeless style. 

Limited Editions: This Double Cheval blanket, designed by Mexican artist Miguel Castro Lenero, features hand-applied block prints and traditional kantha embroidery. 

Tibicolor Tray: Perfect as the gathering space for loose change, keys and whatnot, the Tibicolor tray is accented with a bridle leather tab on the side.