June 19, 2014

Hermès Partners with Artists and Designers for Petit h


Construction Form Baby Elephant

Small Horse Clock by Petit h.

Construction Form Baby Elephant by Petit h.

Re-use, recreate, recycle, re-make. Not typically part of a word association game played with the luxury house


. Instead, we tend to think Birkin, Kelly, and Evylene (as in bags); Cape Cod (as in watches); silk (as in scarves only the French know how to tie); and crystal and porcelain (as in precious home objects). With

Petit h

, Pascale Mussard, the initiative’s artistic director and a 6th-generation member of the Hermès family, teaches us to think differently about the company’s mission.

She never liked throwing anything away, she recounts. Not the scratched skin, the discarded strap or buckle, the splotched fabric, or the crystal flawed with a bubble. Mussard dreamed of re-using these discarded elements of Hermès production and re-fashioning them into something entirely different. So she paired up the house’s artisans, “the beautiful hands she calls them,” with selected artists and designers and charged them with coming up with entirely new objects—a cabinet of curiosities if you will. She imposed no restrictions, no preconditions, no vetting.

So here’s how we get items like an almost 5-foot-tall “squirrel” bookcase in signature orange leather, a model schooner with a billowing silk sail, a multi-colored leather bench, a miniature pram, a skateboard that didn’t make it into porcelain dinnerware, and armloads of patterned bangles in silk or leather. They’re but a miniscule sample of the 1,000’s of Petit h pieces, each one-off or limited edition.

Distribution ties into today’s appetite for pop-ups. Rather than permanent sales display within the retail network (except for Paris), Petit h has a nomadic existence. Items have been displayed, to cite some venues, in Tokyo, Berlin, Hong Kong, Brussels, and London. They were there, then gone. Last week brought them—and us—to their most recent location in Costa Mesa, California. It’s our reason for taking note now.



Change Tray Form Car by Petit h.

Cristal Bowl Five Feet by Petit h.

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