In Paris, Christophe Pillet describes his own approach to luxury in a shop for Rodolphe Menudier.
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 4/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
LUXURY, ONE OF THE most common terms in fashion-speak, has a cool, new French definition with Christophe Pillet's design of the first shop for Rodolphe Menudier. The project, on the Rue Castiglione in Paris's venerable first arrondissement, provides a signature home base for an internationally distributed shoe collection with a decidedly chic attitude.
"I'm 41, Rodolphe is 37," says Pillet of his design for Menudier. "Together we wanted to find our own reference to luxury that wouldn't be old-fashioned. It's a generational thing, a versatile cocktail that can include references to rock-and-roll or James Bond. Like in a perfume, the ingredients all go together but result in one fragrance—or one image."
Pillet's renovation of the 860-sq.-ft. site, just steps from the Place Vendôme, was calculated to conjure a distinctive Menudier ambiance. He transformed a former men's shirt shop into a stunning dark gray and orange boîte. The colors derive from Menudier's logo and packaging. It's a change not only from the traditional décor of its predecessor, but also from the minimalist white boxes that crowd the fashion firmament.
Primarily a product designer who counts Cappellini, Fontana Arte, Magis, Fiam, and Ceccotti among his collaborators, Pillet fashioned the interior envelope of slate, carpet, and a glamorous expanse of silver, stamped crocodile pleather. Imposing blocks of custom cabinets and lighting pendants are of stainless steel, as are the sinuous stools for salesmen. Pillet makes special mention of the lighting, created by Thierry Dreyfus, who specializes in catwalk presentations. Emanating from sources concealed within the display units, a floor-level glow illuminates the shoes as customers try them on.
Menudier and Pillet conceived the project as a prototype, and have set their sights on Manhattan. "We're looking," Pillet says. "We'd like uptown." Make room Madison Avenue.