Brand talk

Hermes Pavilion Baselworld 2013

The new Hermès pavilion at Baselworld, the World Watch and Jewellery Show, is a physical representation of the philosophy shared by Hermès and architect Toyo Ito – a philosophy with universal reach. Its design is a testament to Hermès’ fundamental values: craftsmanship, a commitment to work carried out by hand and to the noble elegance of natural materials such as wood, and an appreciation of time, precision and innovation. By opting for lightness and openness, Hermès has created a serene and welcoming space at the heart of the Baselworld Show.

Designed to be both ephemeral and permanent, the construction will be in place for the duration of the Show and can be dismantled, reassembled and thus rebuilt every year. Toyo Ito has imagined a two-storey “box” measuring 34 metres long and 19 metres wide. With a total area of 1,040m2, it is twice the size of last year’s pavilion. Its steel framework is clad with 624 wooden strips, some straight, some curved. These interlocking slats form an outer mesh, and this façade covers a second inner structure made of wood, glass and metal. Between these two “skins”, 167 plants form a corridor of greenery. For those who stroll alongside the pavilion, the mesh of wooden strips resembles an opaque wall. Those who stop to take a closer look will see the inner wall through the gaps. The pavilion’s design is organic, brought to life with movement akin to the swell of the sea. It appears to tremble in the wind. Its skin of wooden slats, hanging like a skirt, moves with broad and dynamic undulations.

An haven of serenity

With its entrance positioned in the corner, the pavilion appears to cut through the waves like the bow of a ship. As they enter, visitors will sense the serenity of the atrium, at the end of which the more intimate offices and presentation and sales areas are located. A staircase in wood and metal takes visitors up to the mezzanine. Naturally dyed fabrics, so evocative of the world of Hermès, line the spaces like the bark of a tree, giving them a sense of warmth and intimacy. Finally, glass cases dotted around the edge of the room and within display Hermès’ latest watchmaking creations. Blossoming like metallic flowers, they take their place in the perpetual creative cycle.

The story of an encounter

Hermès’ artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Toyo Ito first met in late 2010 at the second Prix Émile Hermès event, a design prize awarded by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. An environmentally aware approach which emphasises the value of expertise is something the two of them share, and it is what brought them together for this project. Pierre-Alexis Dumas describes Toyo Ito as “a man who is as meticulous, thoughtful and sensitive as he is wise – a genuine enthusiast who possesses a natural and gentle authority; for him, silence is as meaningful as words. And his company, like Hermès, has remained small and adaptable.” The Hermès pavilion is designed along the lines of traditional Japanese teahouses. Here, Toyo Ito’s architectural approach bridges the gaps between different eras and forms, and between heritage, popular style and experimentation.


Published in : Hermès, Press releases
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