On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, a communication buzz returns to Vertu’s very first boutique location on Rue Royale in Paris. Vertu arrived at this luxury shopping thoroughfare just steps from Place de la Concorde and Rue Saint-Honoré in 2002, which sparked a period of retail expansion into 80 boutiques worldwide in ten years time.
In 2012, the maiden boutique unveils a pristinely redesigned retail environment highlighting the historic character of its unique locale as well as partaking in a new global retail concept. It debuted in Milan at the Via Montenapoleone boutique in 2011 and, from Paris, will continue onward to touch Vertu’s other boutiques across the globe.
The Vertu boutique experience serves as a sleek and interactive screen for the crystal precision service, craftsmanship and technology that lies behind each Vertu handset. The refreshed Parisian boutique both affirms and refines Vertu’s core design codes through the use of strong angles, an interplay of light and technology as well as a seductive contrast of texture, material and colour.
The redesign saw the street entrance move from centre to left, making way for a dynamic series of glossy black vertical panels in the front window display. Suspended by thin steel wire from the stunningly high ceilings inside, a sculptural pendant light called ‘Polygon Crash’ defines the bold synergy of the space. Designed by the Shanghai- and Berlin-based practice Coordination, the light features three layers of interlocked polygon shades made of handcrafted mirror-polished stainless and powder-coated mild steel; the polygons reflect each other and the surrounding environment, visually deconstructing both. The signature V motif, a defining element of the handset design, echoes throughout the boutique interior, from fixture details to the inlaid steel V accenting the syncopated display cases built into the glossy black walls.
A central glass elevator connects three floors: the underground floor with artisans at work, the ground floor reception, and the top floor that looks onto the ground floor below in a balcony-like setting. While this top floor conveys an aerated sense of openness, nevertheless a sense of ultimate privacy prevails with distinct spaces for private sales, aftersales technical detailing and a lounge area with generous cube sofas. Vertu’s tailored approach to customer interaction is perfectly engineered.
Wrapping around the central elevator leading to the top floor is an iridescent illuminated staircase, underscoring the many technological features found throughout the new boutique. These include video screens on the storefront panels, the hologram background display in the inset product display cases, and the tactile tablet that immediately engages visitors to the top floor. This large electronic book provides insight into the culture and values of Vertu, its services and product portfolio. Such a high-impact environment provides an invigorating and thought-provoking experience, one that is emblematic of Vertu’s dedication to the seamless integration of design, technology and contemporary luxury.
Warm grey, cream and silver tones remain from the original boutique concept colour code, and provide a base for a refreshed and overall harmony of cool metal, black and white – from the boutique’s elegant white orchids to the pristine white gloves used to handle each Vertu handset. Distinct modernity is communicated in the sleek surfaces of the technology as well as the recurrent black glass, polished and brushed steel material elements. Soft matte black leather is their perfect accent, a signature contrast used extensively across the Vertu product range. Rough natural stone on certain wall sections provide further contrast and, as part of the original building structure, evoke the historic and iconic status of central Paris.
From the heart of European luxury, first in Milan and now in Paris, Vertu’s fresh retail concept rolls out across the globe, not only to better cater to its discerning European and worldwide clientele but also to communicate its unprecedented standards of luxury. Even the most practical tools of our daily lives deserve to be beautifully, immaculately arranged.