For a fleeting time, Hermes’ pop-up store in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza paired the brand’s new line, Petit h, with the architecture of Silver Lake firm Escher GuneWardena. Petit h uses repurposed materials—broken tiles, pieces of scarves, rejected bits of leather—and other elements from Hermes manufacturing processes to create new kinds of objects. It is a concept they call “up-cycling.” Earlier pop ups have appeared in Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Shanghai, and New York, with more to come.
The display, developed by Escher GuneWardena with Hermes’ creative team, was a hybrid of a cabinet of curiosities and a fun house. The challenge was to maintain a consistent formal language (and the brand’s identity) while celebrating the impressive diversity of the collection’s over 3,700 items. Presented in mirrored glass boxes, objects were stacked irregularly, “almost like fractal projections,” as Ravi GuneWardena put it, covering about a third of the store. All modules had a similar square profile, but each had a different size and depth, and materials included high gloss silver paint, form finished laminate, brushed metal laminate, and clear acrylic. The walls and floors were kept straightforward so as not to compete with the objects. As you passed through the space you saw yourself and the designs reflected through several perspectives, and you felt like you were in a strange, but wonderful workshop.