What happens when a heritage brand crosses with a renowned contemporary artist? Shoppers get a piece of art fit for a gallery, or in this case, Madison Avenue.
In tandem with a new art initiative, Hermès unveiled seven window displays designed by Dutch artist Levi van Veluw at the New York boutique. The initiative, which is titled Vitre d’Artiste, referencing “artist windows,” is a program set in place by the house inviting artists, architects, and designers to create works reflecting the themes inherent to Hermès.
Van Veluw created his displays with the use of wood, fashioning the material as three-dimensional replicas of Hermès’ iconic scarves, as well as items from the collection. From horse bits and stirrups, to jewelry and belts, nothing was off limits to van Veluw.
“My ambition was to make artworks that are fully integrated with the products. Not an artwork with products,” said van Veluw in an interview with Hermès. On his choice to use wood rather than a less common material, the artist spoke of the transformative quality of the natural resource.
“It’s so common that it’s not really associated with something specific.”
Van Veluw first collaborated with Hermès in 2014 to create a display for the Shanghai boutique. He considers his work with the house to be the exception to his work which is typically for exhibitions and galleries. He likens the window displays to “giant view boxes,” a welcomed change from the white cubes his art is often placed upon in museums.
In regards to his inspiration for the intricate window display in New York, van Veluw credits both the Hermès scarf and his love for creating experiences for his audiences. “I really like immersive installation art,” he said. “In 2016 I created an all-encompassing installation. Once the doors closed, the visitor entered a maze of corridors, doors, atmospheres, perspectives and colors that challenged him in a sensory manner.”
For the displays he created his own patterns and shapes which manifested in what he termed as “sophisticated layered windows.” A display that simply put the product in front of the art was not an option for the artist. The finished product reflects the intricate craftsmanship of an Hermès’ accessory.
Located at 690 and 691 Madison Avenue, the Hermès boutique will display van Veluw’s work until November 19.
All photos courtesy of Hermès.