Mauboussin Flagship, Paris

A classic French jeweler brings a surprisingly modern twist to Place Vendome
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Posted February 14, 2011
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The Mauboussin home page features the French jewelry retailer’s graphics on the wall of the Place Vendome metro station in Paris. It instantly associates Mauboussin with retail elegance.

But when the 184-year-old retailer renovated its flagship store last fall, it might not have been what Parisian boulevardiers were expecting.

“Mauboussin is positioning itself to be accessible to all ages and income levels,” says New York architect and designer Regis Pean of omni//form. “Its target customer is a modern, independent woman who knows what she wants, is conscious of existing trends and buys jewelry for herself.”

The new 20,000-square-foot space is more like an urban loft than an opulent jewelry salon, “a cool, relaxed but stylish shopping environment,” Pean says. “It’s a break from the expected formality of the jewelry stores in the Place Vendome vicinity.”

There is still, to be sure, a classic sit-down setting for personal transactions, featuring oversized, comfortable French fauteuils and sofas. But then there’s the unexpected: exposed brick and purple and gold hand-woven carpets under glass beaded ceilings.

A long, oversized sales counter made from white granite is set against an exposed brick wall featuring hand-painted graffiti by New York artist Jay Lohmann in a double-height space with a large decorative fiber optics chandelier.

Diamonds are shown in a dark-black mirrored room. And bridal jewelry can be shopped in a white space in the back featuring white feathers, satin moldings and mother of pearl satin-covered furniture, contrasted with white-washed, raw brick walls. A mirrored wall along the center appears to make the space seem double in size, heightened by an explosion of fiberoptic lighting.

And, perhaps most unexpected of all, there’s an iPad station for direct access to online shopping. Imagine Empress Eugénie coming in to check her tweets.

Photography: Regis Pean, New York