Gabellini Sheppard Associates has collaborated with German fashion designer Jil Sander since the design of her inaugural flagship store in Paris, which opened in March 1993. Since then, the firm has designed and implemented over 80 Jil Sander boutiques and showrooms worldwide. All of these spaces share the same spatial vocabulary— defined by pure, linear geometries; translucent, light-filled planes; floating surfaces; and suspended forms— yet each environment is designed to reflect the specificities of its site.
The 12,000 sq. ft. Paris boutique, located at 52 Avenue Montaigne, was constructed in 1890 as a private dwelling for Count de Lariboisiere by architect Tournade as a quintessential example of French Beaux-Arts architecture. The facade received landmark status in 1990, but the interior had already been destroyed. In response to the building’s history, Gabellini Sheppard Associates created a dialogue between its architectural heritage and its current state by creating an open court and revealing the vertical expanse of the front interior bearing wall. The exterior limestone was brought inside to clad the entire interior face in a metamorphic exchange between the old and new. Radically simplified in form and structure, the interior bearing wall took on the appearance of a Roman aqueduct. It was this revelation that inspired the entire design aesthetic—its classical proportions, its interplay between gravity and weightlessness, and its understated use of materials.
This project received the 1994 Interiors Magazine Best in Retail Design award and the 1993 Architectural Record Magazine Award For Excellence in Planning and Design.
Photography by Paul Warchol.