Under the artistic direction of Godefroy de Virieu, creation at petit h takes place in reverse, because work here does not start with a preconceived idea or grand design, but with materials for which other Hermès métiers have no further use – such as leather, silk, crystal and porcelain – and with which artisans, artists and designers improvise by combining, assembling and adjusting them in a thousand and one ways. The petit h workshop gives life and meaning to unique and hybrid objects whose aesthetics and function are faithful to Hermès’ creative spirit, high-quality materials and exceptional know-how. Its creations are as surprising as they are fun.
Now, petit h brings its light-heartedness, mischief and extensive know-how to a dedicated space with its own entrance and window display next door to the Hermès store. Designed by RDAI, it features sparkling terrazzo flooring inspired by a petit h creation, whose marble is dotted with pieces of brass from the leather goods métier.
Echoing the flair and ingenuity of petit h creations, the store resembles a stage set whose elements can be folded in any number of ways thanks to their modular design. The whitewashed walls feature magnetic panels in polished metal onto which different objects are attached each season. The cork furniture takes the form of a set of different-sized cubes that can be stacked and moved around to tell a variety of stories. They feature drawers with handles in bridle leather found in the petit h treasure trove of materials, expressing the notion of repurposing that lies at the heart of this métier.
Four times a year, the display will be changed to tell another story of re-creation. Earthenware is the material being showcased for the store opening. For this occasion, the objects created in collaboration with the potters from the Ravel workshops in the south of France include an earthenware jar whose leather handle comes from a Kelly bag.
Other particularly innovative creations include leather bowls made without stitching but moulded in the studio like pottery. For Godefroy de Virieu, “these two worlds of fundamental and symbolic origins come together in these temporary collections, showcasing the ancestral know-how so beloved by the house and highlighting both the simplicity and technical skills demonstrated by the artisans”.
In its new store, petit h thus offers a unique experience around reinvention and respect for materials, meticulous craftsmanship and the offbeat exploratory approach that suffuses the original creations of a unique métier. Over the seasons and according to inspiration, the store will host workshops where visitors can discover the infinite possibilities of “re-creation”.