Today, Louis Vuitton opened its first European airport store at Heathrow Terminal 5.
The 301sq.m store is dedicated to Louis Vuitton’s travel heritage and welcomes the modern explorer to journey through an entirely new retail concept.
With imminent journeys come a unique frame of mind; a feeling of excitement and the surprise of discovery, not only of foreign faraway lands but long before take off, a retail destination which offers an engaging shopping experience.
The store’s opening coincides with the arrival of Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2015 collection, which was presented in Monaco, at Place du Palais by Nicolas Ghesquiere. Aquatic motifs abound, from cut out ‘portholes’ on navy sweaters to maritime flares to the rich embroideries depicting coral branches, this is a collection that calls to mind the Cote d’Azur, perfectly in tune with the house’s legendary roots in the Art of Travel.
Louis Vuitton has long anticipated the needs of the modern traveler. The Louis Vuitton family were avid followers of technological advances in the world of aviation, inspired by the groundbreaking achievements of pioneering pilots such as the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont, ‘the conqueror of the air,’ Louis Bleriot, and the Wright brothers in the dawn of the 20th Century.
By 1910, the year when Pierre Vuitton, the great grandson of founder Louis created airplane models (named Vuitton I and Vuitton II) the house’s catalogue of trunks and leather goods listed the ultra-light, unsinkable and watertight “Aero-trunks” for hot air balloons. In the years since then, Louis Vuitton and the succeeding generations have invented trunks and luggage – from check-in to carry-on, and always combining functionality with luxury – anticipating the needs of the modern traveler.
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIORS
The Louis Vuitton Heathrow store is flanked by an articulated series of metallic striped glass ‘fins’ finished in bronzed anodized aluminum. On the entire perimeter of the façade are a sequence of hanging transparent units hung by Louis Vuitton belts, recalling the artisan heritage of the Maison, and allowing visibility straight into the store. Inside, a considered open space makes the store’s offering of leather goods, women’s ready to wear and shoes, accessories, sunglasses, fine jewellery and watches easy to navigate. Look up to see 80% of ceiling surface crafted from suspended aluminum blades ranging from a gold oak brushed veneer to others clad in hand crafted bronze and gold wallpaper. A feeling of warmth is felt throughout, communicated by sumptuous beige leathers, polished plaster in light gold, smoked teakwood and antique brass metalwork.
ARTISTIC COLLABORATION WITH ANGE LECCIA
Always faithful to its heritage and commitment to fine craftsmanship, Louis Vuitton is renowned for its enduring relationships with artists and designers, from Richard Prince to Takashi Murakami to Charlotte Perriand and Yayoi Kusuma. This store is no exception. The exterior will boast a mesmerizing installation by Ange Leccia, the contemporary French painter, photographer and filmmaker whose renowned works are exhibited in international galleries and museums, from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to the Gugghenheim Museum in New York – and now, inside Louis Vuitton Terminal 5.
The commissioned short film, Giraglia, will be presented on a digital screen set within the impressive 6m façade of the store. The film follows a natural pattern: the Mediterranean Sea. The artwork presents a hypnotic maritime rhythm, an aquatic landscape of incessant swaying of coming and going. This quiet flow provokes thoughts of existence and of nature’s pulsations, and of course it neatly chimes with the idea of a voyage, traveling across oceans to adventures new.