BIG’s refurbishment of an Art Deco bank on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in Paris,has created a new 6800 square metre Galeries Lafayette flagship store. The group has uncovered and celebrated the bank’s interior to create a curated retail experience for leading fashion, food and lifestyle brands.
The overall design is intended to pay tribute to the tactility and texture of the 1932 building. Throughout the store, visitors encounter luxurious materials and refined details from the past that are reinterpreted in a contemporary way.
Shoppers enter from the street through an inverse canopy – a glowing glass tunnel – to reach a dramatic circular atrium topped by a monumental glass cupola that has been restored and uncovered to maximise daylight. From the ground floor visitors are enticed by views of the upper levels to explore the different destinations.
The escalators are finished in warm metal and a ribbon of glass, in the same material palette as the central atrium. The ground floor forms a bright urban living room for brand promotions, fashion shows and other special events. A grand glass staircase offers views over the Champs Élyssées while its underside forms a stepped soffit to the first floor coffee lounge.
A ring of golden perforated metal wraps around the piers of the atrium to create the inner wall of a series of rooms and alcoves. Fittings are never merely storage: counters are a sculptural stack of elements and parts of the shoe display double as furniture to sit on and try the footwear, while carpets grow up from the floor to become dressing rooms.
On the top storey a series of life-size suspended glass vitrines can host a variety of experiences and activities, still visible from the lower levels.