Louis Vuitton Island Maison – A New Luxury Destination

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Louis Vuitton Island Maison Night Facade

17 September 2011, Singapore – Singapore’s origins as a trading port has reinforced its role as the economic and cultural hub of Southeast Asia.  The Louis Vuitton Island is a new luxury destination for demanding travellers who wish to transform every journey into a unique personal experience. Don’t forget to check out the celebrity studded photos at the red carpet celebrations here.

“This new and exciting destination, incorporating art and cultural elements, will offer an unforgettable experience.  We would like visitors to embark with us on a journey full of surprises on this unique island,” said Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton.

“Opening a new Maison in Singapore is an expression of our belief and optimism in the future of this dynamic city”, states Jean-Baptiste Debains, President of Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific. “Louis Vuitton has been present in Singapore since 1979.  The Louis Vuitton Island is our fifth Louis Vuitton store in the country and the first Maison in the Southeast Asian region. It is the only truly ‘luxury island’ in the world!”

There are three different ways to access the island – via an outdoor bridge; by boat, disembarking at a jetty; and from the mall via a tunnel and ascending travelator which leads you to the centre of the pavilion.

On the left side of the tunnel is a first in Singapore which features a cultural space for exhibitions. A selection of historic Louis Vuitton luggage linked to the nautical world and transatlantic travels of the early 20th century are displayed on the right side.

A Glass Pavilion of Light

Peter Marino designed the Louis Vuitton Island to capture the thrill and romance of the sea.  A series of nautical-inspired spaces based on traditional materials of the seafaring world are used.  The timber used for sailing ships and the stone of harbours and slipways can also be found throughout the Maison.  The Men’s Universe has nautical accents rendered in timber, while the Women’s Universe, whose ceiling soars to a height of 11 metres, features masts of sailing ships suspended in the air.

Ensuring consistent lighting of the interior while still allowing visitors spectacular views of the surrounding Marina Bay was Peter Marino’s main challenge.

Unlike other Louis Vuitton stores and Maisons, the arrangement of the furniture and product displays is focused towards the centre creating a promenade along the windows of the Maison, inviting visitors to take pleasure from the spectacular exterior views.

Cultural Encounters

“Luxury and art are both expressions of passion and emotion.  Visitors come to Louis Vuitton not only to shop, but also to experience emotion.  Louis Vuitton Maisons have become iconic landmarks around the world”, explains Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton.

The first Louis Vuitton Maison in Southeast Asia and the 12th in the world, the Louis Vuitton Island incorporates art and cultural elements within its retail space.

The inaugural exhibition at the tunnel leading from the mall to the “Island” will feature 15 international artists including Singapore artists, where they share their personal interpretations around the islands theme.

British artist and winner of the 1987 Turner Prize, Richard Deacon is renowned for his large-scale sculptures.  For the Louis Vuitton Island, he has created a hanging sculpture formed from three interlocking pieces.  Entitled “Upper Strut”, this artwork was inspired by the surface of the water.  It will be one of Richard’s artworks to be suspended, and on a scale never accomplished before.

The Maison will also exhibit an artwork of Cuban-born illustrator Ruben Toledo.  This will be displayed by the staircase linking the watch and jewellery universe and bookstore.  Ruben has illustrated every city in the Louis Vuitton City Guideseries since 1998.

In July 2011, Louis Vuitton launched the Arts Excellence Programme in partnership with the School of the Arts (SOTA), Singapore’s first specialized arts school for talented students aged 13 to 18.  Louis Vuitton Singapore will fund a three-year initiative beginning next January, incorporating a series of master classes where local and international artists are invited to conduct seminars for SOTA students.  It is a way for Louis Vuitton to give back to the city of Singapore, explained Jean Christophe Tevenin, General Manager of Louis Vuitton Southeast Asia.

A Conversation With Richard Deacon

Louis Vuitton Island Maison - Richard Deacon

How did your collaboration with Louis Vuitton begin?

RD: The idea came from Peter Marino.  In October 2010, he saw an exhibition of mine at the Galerie Ropac in paris, and at that time he was already working on the project of the Louis Vuitton Island at Marina Bay Sands in Singpaore.  He asked me if I could create an installation for this unique store so I went to Singapore to visit the location, and after a quick look around the site I was excited.  This is the first time I have created an installation for this kind of space.

The “Upper Strut” is a site-specific installation.  Did the store universe inspire you?

RD: I was immediately inspired by this building standing alone on a glass pavilion sticking out into the bay.  Views of water are visible all around the Maison.  The basic units for the whole artwork are made of four lengths of wood twisted together.  Separated out and reconfigured, they form the sides of the shapes we have made.  To me, the resulting shapes, with their undulations and crossovers, always convey an apparent fluidity which recalls the restlessness of the surface of water.   The water theme has been evident in the titles of other works of mine – UW84DC (You Wait For The Sea) , Troubled Water, Orinoco etc.

Wood plays an important role in the store design and your work is also made of wood.  Is wood a special material for you?

RD: I work with a lot of different materials but wood is a material I have used for 40 years.  You can always explore ways of working it .  I like to bend it and twist it in ways you don’t really think about or imagine.  I perpetually look for newways of working the wood, transforming a material which seems familiar into a really beautiful and complicated surface.  For this specific artwork, we carefully selected British wood and dried it naturally.

There is also a certain magic between the sense of fluidity and this quite rigid material.  By twisting the wood end to end rather than just bending it, you get this screw-shaped length.  These twisted elements can be taken apart to create really complicated lines.  These overlapping lines give you a feeling of complexity and also the illusion of surface in motion, although clearly it is made of a fixed and hard material.

What were your major challenges?

The major challenge in producing any artwork is always to produce something that satisfies your ambition and your vision. It is to have something at the end of the day that you feel proud of, and which makes you feel you are giving something to the public, whoever the public is.

One particular challenge in this artwork was its size.  It is particularly big, measuring 8 metres by 15 metes.  It was too big to be assembled in my studio and far too big to be transported in a unique block.  We decided to separate it into three overlapping and interlocking parts.

The final challenge was to fit it inside the space. The work is suspended and we had to collaborate with the architect to make sure that they knew where the points were.  This coordination between my team, the architectural team and the Louis Vuitton team, within a tight timescale, was quite a big challenge.

How would you like visitors to perceive this artwork?

“Upper Strut” is suspended as to create a floating surface inside the Louis Vuitton Island.  This store has two levels: the ground floor and a mezzanine.  For the viewer, it’s not simple to understand how it’s made at first sight.  It’s a very complicated framework of opening and shutting.  The work can be perceived from two points of view as visitors can go under it or above it.  From the ground floor, three distinct shapes may be seen, but from the mezzanine, because of the foreshortening, something else can be seen. If looking at a surface, then from underneath it is as if you are within its world however from the mezzanine, you appear to be sailing along that surface.

 

Photos from Press Conference

Chow Yuan Fatt with Yves Carcelle

Chow Yun Fat with Yves Carcelle

Chow Yuan Fatt at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison

INSIDE THE STORE

Outdoor Loggia

Men's Universe

Men's Shoes

Men's Bag

Bookstore

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