Celine's new store concept features top-notch contemporary art and minimalist furniture designed by Hedi Slimane
Hedi Slimane is a man on a mission at Celine. Since rewriting the design vocabulary of the French brand from ladylike to rock 'n' roll, the lithe visionary has now unveiled a brand-new retail concept with the opening of the grand New York Madison Avenue store in February. Bulldozing the former Fiddle-leaf fig-lined warm eclectism of Philo, the cool, hard and shiny 500-sqm flagship is the world's largest Celine store and for good reason; for the first time, it will house both women's and men's collections under one roof.
Materials: A charcoal-grey lava stone called Basaltina — used by ancients Romans to build roads and monuments in their empire — paves the flooring of the entire space, while more than quarry worth (that's an exaggeration, but you get the picture) of luxurious Bianca Raffaelo marble, grande antique marble and grey travertine are laid in varying combinations alongside Brutalist concrete, polished stainless steel, brass and gold mirror. A minor aesthetic departure from his previous store designs at Saint Laurent, reclaimed oak makes a surprising appearance as an anchoring column of warmth.
Furniture: Hedi Slimane dips his hand in back into furniture design, since launching his F-system ebonized stainless steel line in 2012. Described loftily by the label as "sculptural typologies responding to the architecture", Slimane's creations are simple and pared-back; the clean lines of a box-like wooden chair harks back to the minimalist traditions of artist Donald Judd and wouldn't look out of place at the high-end Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris.
Art: Site-specific artworks are another key component. Gone are Sabine Marcelis' glorious resin cubes; in its place, a roster of Slimane's favourite blue-chip and established contemporary artists such as Jose Davila, Elaine Cameron Weir and Oscar Tuazon sanctify the retail floor with their atmospheric sculptural installations.