DESIGN TO BUDGET: What’s the difference between designing a building and designing a book? Budget, says Peter Marino.
“A book is a lot of fun, you don’t have the budget or time restrictions, it comes out whenever you want and you just do it,” said the American architect, who was signing copies of his latest tome, “The Architecture of Chanel,” at the brand’s recently reopened watches and jewelry store on Place Vendôme. “Buildings have time, and budget.”
Clients, friends of the house, and even three lapdogs in a gilded shopping basket, queued to get their copies signed in the second-floor salon overlooking the square and its famous column – just opposite the Ritz, where Gabrielle Chanel had a permanent suite.
The new flagship, which opened in May, is Marino’s latest project for Chanel, and its watches and jewelry division’s most lavish yet. One wall features a permanent display of the 55.55-diamond necklace, the not-for-sale design commemorating the 100th anniversary of Chanel No.5 perfume, while the staircase is adorned with gilded bronze and rock crystal panels by Chanel-owned silversmith Goossens.
“It’s not bad, it’s amazing what I do with a $10,000 budget,” Marino joked.
“We’ve never pushed a design so far,” said Frédéric Grangié, president of watches and jewelry at Chanel, pointing out the black metal panels adorning a wall in the space, each of which took 10 days to polish and finish to resemble paintings by Pierre Soulages, just one example of the attention-to-detail that went into the boutique.
Even getting the gigantic 1950 painting by Nicolas de Staël that dominates the room inside the building was a feat in itself. “We had to bring it through the window with a crane,” said Grangié, whose office is just upstairs from the boutique.
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