OUR FIRST STORE - 21 quai Malaquais, Paris 6
A boutique like a Cabinet of Wonders
The transparent store front edged by a white door frame graphically detaches from the historic navy blue facade around it. And in the window, a numbered, captioned bag tells its own story.
After passing through the immaculate door, the visitor is drawn through a long, narrow space with a minimal Japanese aesthetic. Everywhere white boxes are “piled up” like tiny windows of different sizes covering the walls and ceiling. Their contents is varied : a still life here, a saddle bag, makeup case or travel bag there.
Despite its small size, the space has an elementary simplicity : the framed or unframed rectangles invite the visitor on a circuit of discovery to whet his curiosity. Carefully numbered and named, each bag has its own space and world in the decor. As a contemporary cabinet of wonders, the boutique manipulates the omnipresent use of white to focus on the bags and their contents. At L’Uniform on Quai Malaquais, one can leisurely stroll in to discover a unique world and create a personalized bag.
Light and transition
The soft scenography uses light as a filter for the canvases and leathers. Further back in the boutique, a white Corian counter, bathed in a pool of light, marks the entrance to the manufacturing area.
The oak floor continues the identity with a rhythmic, complex marquetry evoking nautical pennants and the beveled lines of L’Uniform’s identity. The parquet, a “connecting thread” in the shop, contrasts with the visionary boutique design and accompanies the visitor in both areas.
In the back, the wood takes over floor and ceiling, echoing the workbench area that introduces and explains the company’s skills.
Interior Design: Wonderwall Inc. - © Photo: Nacása & Partners Inc.
A workshop to understand
The luminous corridor is a threshold to the back where wood predominates. The tools and patterns displayed evoke the skills needed to make each L’Uniform bag. The presentation shows the materials, webbings and threads that compose each piece.
The wood console inspired by a kimono cabinet lets customers select materials and finishes. This “Workshop” area is a refreshing pause : each month a different model will be exposed and dissected !
Interior – Exterior
For L’Uniform, the inside of a bag is as important as the outside. Playing on this contrast, the contents of L’Uniform’s bags as “containers” are shown throughout the boutique, blurring references to reveal what is not visible.
Connected – disconnected
At the heart of the boutique, an oversized screen projects digital images of still lifes, short films or bags. This pure mood of moving images attracts the Paris wanderer who may discover the boutique while taking a leisurely stroll at dusk. The screen inside draws the eye as a welcoming beacon of light.
© Roberta Valerio
The talented Masamichi Katayama is known as an iconoclast. After designing the Bape Store boutiques since the 90s, remodeling the Colette concept store or collaborating with APC to develop creative universes in Tokyo, Katayama created important projects for Nike and Uniqlo.
The well-known Japanese designer was seduced by L’Uniform’s long narrow space. The project inspired him to create an updated cabinet of wonders. In keeping with his aesthetic, his vision for L’Uniform provokes surprise.
"I like forcing objects to mix so they only keep their substance. I combine styles and influences to imagine spaces where experience and illusion blend together." Masamichi Katayama