There’s a lot more room for Hermès in Manila

Published November 26, 2022, 7:39 PM

by AA Patawaran

The Parisian house has doubled in size, grown by leaps and bounds, as it strengthens its presence—and that of the luxury sector—in the Philippines

Facade of the Hermes store at Greenbelt 3

There’s a lot more room for Hermès in the Philippines, where over the past decade, its home in Manila has served as a portal to exploration and discovery and dreams. As a result, its Greenbelt Mall store in the shopping district of Makati City has grown by leaps and bounds, more than doubling in size, from 200 to 411 square meters, to accommodate more intimate, comfortable spaces in which to showcase the 16 métiers of the Parisian house.

Visible from outside is the expansion of the Makati Avenue façade with large inviting shop windows featuring displays that are at once a declaration of what’s inside and a mystery unlocking a springboard to dreams yet to be conquered. This storefront, now lengthened, awash in a warm terracotta tone, and made minimal and graphic in form, reflect more of Hermès’ design codes, which are observed at every store around the world—a standout on any street and resplendent in any weather, even on the grayest day.

Clockwise from left: Men’s universe, Women’s silk, and garden entrance

Natural materials are aplenty and the color palette, designed to keep everything in a permanent glow, mimics sunshine coming through the windows at any time of day or night, drenching certain corners, kissing particular points.

Behind the renovation is the Paris-based firm RDAI, which has overseen the architecture and interior design of each Hermès store everywhere in the world since 1976. While no archetypal concept is ever applied on any store worldwide, each one is designed according to the existing premises, often developed from the DNA of painstakingly chosen old buildings, especially in Europe, or built on the possibilities presented by the environment, such as in Asia, where many of the stores make a home of department stores, newly established or expanded mall complexes, or just-developed real estate.   

The expanded Greenbelt Mall store in Manila is accessible via two entrances enticing in monochromes of anthracite gray on their metal paneling and dark stone steps and with mosaic floors reminiscent of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré flagship in Paris underfoot and the iconic “Grecques” globe lighting overhead.

The main entrance on Makati Avenue leads directly into the perfume and beauty section, the first time such a section, otherwise called métier or “universe” in Hermès parlance, is introduced in the Manila store. Earth tones, such as the many shades of a roasted color bean and ochre, from yellow to deep orange, give extra warmth and coziness to the sun-drenched stucco walls. Just as warm and welcoming are the cherrywood frames and display cabinets.

The perfume and beauty universe gives way to a show of fashion jewelry, which, in turn, leads to the men’s métier, where a selection of leather goods is on display.

Every corner, as well as the overall vibe, of the expanded, refurbished store is a nod to the long-standing artistic spirit at Hermès and its commitment—never changing, ‘only permanently evolving’—to artistry and craftsmanship.

Right next to the doorstep of Greenbelt 3, the second—and new—entrance of the expanded, refurbished store opens into the women’s silk universe, the ready-to-wear collections and shoes, and onward into the leather goods métier, replete with an alcove for jewelry and watches.

Maison

A staircase framed by bamboo panels, as well as a modern interpretation of a quaint elevator, leads to the second level dedicated to collections for home, including art de vivre, furniture, and such other bespoke objects of desire and imagination as the Hermès bicycle and leather Mah-jong set.

The luster of cherrywood, used to great effect on the paneling, along with made-to-measure carpets and carefully curated contemporary artworks, such carré prints, interacting with select pieces from the collection of Émile Hermès, sets off the intimacy that is a cornerstone in the interiors of the just-reopened store. But every corner, as well as the overall vibe, is a nod to the maison’s long-standing artistic spirit and its commitment—never changing, only “permanently evolving”—to artistry and craftsmanship that has spanned 185 years, ever since Hermès was founded as a harness shop in 1837 in Paris.

Leather and ready to wear section

To open the store, Anton Huang, president at SSI Group, and Mario Katigbak, Hermès general manager in the Philippines, threw a Paper Fantasia party for Manila’s well-heeled, featuring Geoffroy Pithon. The French painter and graphic designer’s works transformed the store, including surrounding areas, such as next-door restaurants Sala and People’s Palace and a portion of the Greenbelt gardens, into a realm of whim, dreams, magic, romance, and—in line with the theme of Hermès for 2022—incredible lightness, as pursued, captured, expressed, evoked, and celebrated on handmade paper.

There’s a lot more room for Hermès in the Philippines. There’s a lot more room for dreams.

 
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