Cartier to Reopen Its Paris Home
PARIS — From the moment its flagship store opened in 1899, at 13 Rue de la Paix in the Second Arrondissement, Cartier’s identity has been linked to that building.
It was here that Alfred Cartier and his eldest son, Louis, settled the family business — close to Place Vendôme and the fashionable Opéra Garnier, in the heart of the capital’s nascent luxury district — a first step in Cartier’s journey to becoming an international luxury powerhouse.
The Paris store was the last of Cartier’s three flagships, which it calls its “temples,” to undergo a design overhaul. Closed since June 2020 and hidden from view by a giant trompe l’oeil cover, the renovated store, also known as “13 Paix,” is scheduled to reopen on Oct. 28. (The Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City was completed in August and the New Bond Street store in London, in 2018.)
“Cartier is not anchored in one city or one period of time,” said Cyrille Vigneron, who has served as the house’s president and chief executive since 2016. “We find inspiration in many sources, like the Islamic world, India’s maharajahs, European Art Deco and much more, all of which now blend into the architecture of our house.”
The building’s neo-Classical style facade, with the house’s signature accents of black and gold Portoro marble, was not changed. But when the redesigned 3,000-square-meter (almost 32,300-square-foot) interior is unveiled next week, it will express not just the Parisian roots of Cartier, Mr. Vigneron said, but everything that is universal about its identity and style.
“This redesign is a metamorphosis, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly by recomposing the same molecules in a new way,” Mr. Vigneron said. “We have reconstructed this site with elements of history and time, to create something new and different.”
Gone are the imposing central staircase, the enfilade of small rooms with their dark wood wall paneling, and the opaque glass dome ceiling, all of which had been in place since the last renovation, in 2005. In their place, there is now a vast central open space with the upper five floors visible in a glass-ceiling atrium, and a less-prominent staircase against one wall. There are also two additional floors, used as offices, below ground.
“Adding radiating light and inviting visitors to roam freely throughout the multilevel boutique were a priority,” said Bruno Moinard of the French architecture firm of Moinard Bétaille, which has remodeled almost 500 Cartier shops around the world and was assigned to design three floors in the Paris building: the ground floor and the two floors above it. “The new staircase is also an invitation to wander.”
Twelve master artisans and 40 workshops specializing in lacquer, woodwork, stonework, mosaics, metalwork and stucco work teamed up to create the interior array of decorative elements and bespoke furnishings. The patina on the panels, walls, and ceiling treatments was the work of Atelier Pierre Bonnefille, while the marquetry specialist Lison de Caunes created the recurring decorative sundial motifs in golden straw, onto which Jean-Daniel Gary inlaid textured glass.
“By inviting them to work together,” Mr. Moinard said, “we have pushed many of these talented artisans to surpass their own imagination, and to create dreams that will transport the visitor.”
The upper floors of the building include repair and customization offices, high jewelry workshops and the business’s archives, many of them designed by Studioparisien. And, for the top floor, the Parisian architect Laura Gonzalez designed the Residence, a living room with a dining area and winter garden for entertaining customers and friends of the house. Among the specialists who contributed to the décor of the Residence were Ateliers Gohard, the textile specialist Lucie Touré and the mosaicist Pierre Mesguich.
Cartier has created a number of exclusive pieces to mark the reopening, ranging from five high jewelry designs to three limited-edition watches: a Tonneau, a Tank Asymétrique and a Cloche. Each of the timepieces has the number 13 at the 12 o’clock position on the dial and the word “Paix” at 1 o’clock.
Mr. Vigneron said the newly renovated building did not just represent what he called “nostalgic patrimony.”
“It is a source of memory,” he said, “and a temple where we look at the past as inspiration for the future.”