The American architect, designer, collector, and curator Peter Marino is helping brighten life in the City of Light post-lockdown, by designing Christian Dior’s new flagship store on 261 rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement of the city. The architect, Peter Marino, and collector have overseen Dior’s huge new, art-filled retail space on rue Saint-Honoré in the French capital.
The tourism numbers might be down, and the hand sanitizer might be a little more prominent, but life in Paris is beginning to become a little more normal, with visitors returning to the Eiffel Tower, the pavement bistros, and, of course, the city’s haute-couture stores.
“Mr. Dior had the courage to launch his brand right after the war, an act of rebellion against the dark times. We are not very hopeful that we will have lots of tourists until next year. So with less tourism, we have the chance and the duty to better take care of locals.”
Pietro Beccari, president and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture, told Womens Wear Daily during a walk around the new space earlier this month.
Don’t expect Peter Marino to create a mere pastiche of the old when he is reimagining a historic building. For the architect, who was entrusted with his third intervention at Dior’s legendary address, “times have changed, evolution is inexorable, things move forward.” Indeed, at the corner of Rue François I and Avenue Montaigne, visitors will now find a two-story Dior boutique, a restaurant, a patisserie, three gardens, a 21,500-square-foot museum chronicling Christian Dior’s epic story, and, the most recent additions, renovated haute couture and jewelry workshops.
Peter Marino oversaw the five-story, 900+ square-meter space, restoring its stone façade and bay windows to complement the surrounding cityscape, while filling the building’s interior with artworks by Martin d’Orgeval, Peter Seal, and Alyson Shotz, as well as furniture by Pierre Paul, Mattia Bonetti, and Franck Evennou, among others.
It is a place of possibilities, unique in the world of luxury, combining history, creativity, and know-how. As Peter Marino pays tribute to the history of the House of Dior, he does so by anchoring it in the present, as in the Rotonde, which dazzles with its wooden moldings and exposed steel beams. The contrast between heritage and modernity is expressed throughout the nearly 108,000-square-foot complex, thanks to the combination of more than a hundred different materials, from stone to precious fabrics in a gradation of whites.
A focus on the play of light and a sense of space is omnipresent in the building’s redesign. Nature and flowers, dear to Christian Dior, are also common themes. They are fitting, as Dior loved nothing more than to be in the beautiful garden of his home in Granville, in Normandy.
The Gallery, a vast space, retraces the nearly 75-year history of Dior. Conceived as a museum that shows how fashion’s evolution reflects social trends—and also how society reflects trends in fashion—it includes pieces from different collections and scenography by Nathalie Crinière. Some emblematic places associated with Dior have also been moved here and preserved in their original states, such as Christian Dior’s office and a room of fitting mannequins.
Finally, a stay in La Suite Dior makes for an unusual journey into French hospitality. Guests get the keys to 30 Montaigne for one night, fulfilling Marino’s wish to create a place in which “people can take their time and feel comfortable. Time—like space, light, and these gardens—is one of the most important elements when experiencing this address.”