A Contemporary Vision of a Next-Gen Store

MVRDV has renovated a 19th century Haussmann building by removing internal barriers and adding a glass floor to allow light to fill the interiors in the new flagship store in Paris for French lingerie brand Etam

MVRDV has renovated a 19th century Haussmann building

In the design, respect for the historic building and commitment to preservation is combined with a unique shopping experience. MVRDV’s design takes advantage of the building’s wedge-shaped floor plan by stripping back the exterior as much as possible – highlighting the building’s clean classical appearance, allowing plenty of light to enter the Etam store from both sides, and creating large windows for display. In the interiors, the design reveals the original stone structure in an elegantly simple way – removing a part of the entresol floor above and most of the interior walls.

MVRDV has renovated a 19th century Haussmann building

The most striking alteration is a glass floor at ground level, which allows light to penetrate to the basement level and makes a captivating experience as visitors see products and people on the level above or below. This floor is treated with a special film that makes it transparent when viewed at an angle, but clouded when viewed from directly above or below, providing privacy and preventing vertigo for those standing on the glass floor. The revealing – but directional – glassification of the store allows for a delicate balance between transparency and privacy. The result is a spectacular play of transparency, a mix of beautiful raw materials, and technical feats.

MVRDV has renovated a 19th century Haussmann building

The basement is accessed by a grand central staircase. These stairs, as well as the flooring of the basement level and the back of the ground level, are finished with a light-coloured wood laid on its end, inspired by the cobbled streets that were widely used in Paris in the 19th century. The pattern created by this flooring was also developed into the non-slip pattern applied to the glass floor, unifying the two flooring types into a single whole.

Images: © Ossip van Duivenbode
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