Les Hommes chose the area of Porta Nuova, which merges with the pedestrian Corso Como, to inaugurate its very first flagship store in Milan. The Belgian brand entrusted the project design for its boutique to Piuarch and gave them the task of transforming the values and image which distinguish its style into space, colour, geometric designs and materials. Les Hommes is a sophisticated trademark which stands out for the quality of its concepts, its research into materials – often contrasting rich and “poor” materials – and attention to detail.
Piuarch began by analysing these features to interpret the boutique project. From its large shop window on the street, the shop opens up into a 6.5 metres high space, stretching over 100 m2. The structure of the building displays a number of materials: marble, champagne-coloured glass, galvanised steel and cement all blend to offer the visitor visual and tactile sensations. Simple and more precious materials are used side by side, creating an effect of structural elegance and chromatic minimalism.
The flooring clearly highlights this feature: the port black marble laid out in a herring-bone pattern accompanies the customer through the entrance, over the exposed aggregate concrete floor to graft on to the wall in a sophisticated arch. The warm, soft gold hues of the mirrors reflect the symmetrical plasticity and rhythm of the marble triangles.
Piuarch have always considered their interpretation of “context” to be their hallmark. In this case, they have used the materials to add a third dimension to the brand style. Achieved by maintaining a constant dialogue with the designers, Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch. The Belgian duo’s customary painstaking attention to detail is also reflected in the furnishings, arranged in flexible blocks of ice grey glass, port black marble and champagne-coloured steel.
In keeping with the tailored interpretation of the space, Piuarch invited .PSLAB, a context-specific design and manufactory company that is invested in the production of sensory experiences, to contribute to the project with a site specific lighting concept and products developed by .PSLAB BOLOGNA atelier in close collaboration with .PSLAB Beirut headquarters for the development of the bespoke lighting products for the project.
In response to Piuarch’s and client’s brief and Les Hommes brand identity, .PSLAB overcame the double volume space constraints developing a site specific bespoke system featuring bespoke black conical projectors and indirect lighting to create a feature yet technical lighting solution exploiting the two main concrete beams which geometrically define the retail area space. The bespoke system has been complemented by elegant rimless downlights, which bring accent on display units.
Architectural design and interior design by Piuarch. / Francesco Fresa, Germán Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini, Monica Tricario
Piuarch team: Cristina Castelli, Viktors Catanovs, Luca Lazzerotti, Gianluca Iannotta, Angela Nodari, Paola Sarcoli, Jenny Spagnolatti, Enrico Venturini e Anna Zauli
Structural design: FV Progetti S.r.l., Milan, Italy
Fixtures design: ESA Engineering S.r.l., Sesto F.no (FI)
Lighting design: .PSLAB, Beirut, Lebanon
Images 1-9 courtesy of Andrea Martiradonna
Images 10-12 courtesy of .PSLAB.
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