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Boutique Repossi, OMA, Paris

Steel grey and delicate pink: Boutique Repossi is remodelled by OMA

Place Vendôme, the site of the triumphal column in honour of the Grande Armée, has been a showcase for exclusive jewellery stores in the heart of Paris since the beginning of the 19th century.  Now one such store – Boutique Repossi – has stepped up to modify its outdated image.

The architects' main idea was to express various concepts on jewellery presentation while guaranteeing style and versatility at the same time.  As project manager Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli of OMA explains, the goal was to "investigate the human body …  whether it is about housing it or vesting it."  In this respect, the boutique is to act both as a setting for expressing contemporary ideas of jewellery and as a place where customers are able to experiment.

Since the goal was to achieve an unexpected effect, the architects' concept concentrates on materials quite unlike the wood, carpet and leather typically found in showrooms for high-priced jewellery. OMA did not want to treat the space in predictable fashion, either. The desired result was achieved with unconventional  materials, as seen in surfaces and displays in resin, acrylic glass, mirrors and aluminium ranging in hue from steel grey to a subtle pink and red gold in reference to Repossi's colour palette.

The 90-square-metre boutique is located beside Dior and Breguet. The architects developed a concept that allows customers to experience a different pace on each of the small premises' three floors. As a result, each storey has an atmosphere of its own.

The ground floor offers a first impression of the store and is defined as a public space in extension of Place Vendôme. The first floor features typical pieces from the current collection, and is slower in pace since customers spend more time on this storey browsing through the items displayed. The basement is the location of the boutique's salon space, and being a place where customers are able to have their individual jewellery wishes fulfilled, offers not only a leisurely pace but also an intimate feel.

The staircase, an important element in the boutique, has been given a solid, sculpted form between the basement salon and the ground floor. From here it is followed by a floating staircase surrounded by shiny aluminium walls and featuring treads and landings in resin with a terrazzo look.

The displays on the ground floor are integrated into the rotating billboard walls with three alternating sides that can be used to transform the street level interior into differing spaces.  The triangular, column-like elements were developed in collaboration with the designer Sabine Marcelli and each incorporate a bronze-coloured mirror, a traditional mirror and a display system.   "When the billboards are turned in a way that conceals the jewellery, the showroom is able to become a public space", states Pestellini Laparelli. As the OMA project manager remarks, "An architectural void at Place Vendôme is undoubtedly the ultimate in luxury".

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