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Take a tour of La Main, the Paris headquarters of LVMH Métiers d'Art

La Main, the new Paris headquarters of LVMH Métiers d'Art, is a building steeped in artisan traditions. It is the headquarters of an organization whose mission is to enhance, support and make the world of craftsmanship accessible to all. Located a stone's throw from the Arts-et-Métiers district in the 2nd arrondissement, it is an artfully reinterpreted historic building from a craft-rich era that served in the past as the home of a printing house and then a textile manufacturer. “We chose Rue Réaumur for its link to design and craftsmanship,” says Matteo de Rosa, CEO of LVMH Métiers d'Art. “By locating here, we want to invite the public to explore and recognize the exceptional materials and unparalleled expertise that form the basis of the luxury industry's manufacturing expertise.”

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

La Main: Insights into LVMH’s new headquarters

LVMH Métiers d'Art was founded in 2015 with the aim of preserving and perpetuating the best of the manufacturing world within the luxury industry. It encourages communication between artists and artisans, helps small businesses develop and supports traditional skills that might otherwise be lost. It clearly addresses a current, evolving need. “Over the last 18 months, we have experienced rapid expansion, growing from a small company to a dynamic collective that includes more than 17 companies from around the world,” says de Rosa.

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

“Our new building is intended to serve as a hub connecting our companies with our customers, showcasing the intrinsic value of each craft, its mission and its path to market.” Architect Clément Lesnoff-Rocard was commissioned to transform the existing building, which was built in 1898 and features an impressive – and listed – glass and metal roof by Gustave Eiffel. The rest of the structure is made of stone and cast metal columns and bricks, which the architect wanted to clean and expose to highlight the skeleton of the building.

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

Inside are offices, a showroom and an extensive materials library that forms the core of the company, “the engine of this big machine,” as Lesnoff-Rocard puts it, where anyone can come to see and choose products made in the company's network. “Matteo said, 'I want it to be rock'n'roll, a bit unexpected,'” says the architect. “But it also had to be thoughtful and upscale. He knows that you have to give creative people the opportunity to express their creativity freely.”

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

Conceived as an exhibition space/gallery/workspace/education center, the project's challenge was, among other things, to design a space that could meet all of these requirements but also adapt to changing needs, a variety of activities and the growth of a thriving organization. Paris' famous Haussmann apartments “were not designed with flexibility in mind, but they are all so malleable,” says Lesnoff-Rocard. “They can become anything you want today. The same is true of this building.”

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

“Matteo named the exhibition space La Main [‘the hand’ in French] as a tribute to the skilled craftsmen whose hands give life to LVMH Métiers d'Art. It also represents the different entities within the group, similar to the fingers of a hand – different in their identity, but together they form something much more significant and robust,” explains the architect. “Just as each finger contributes to the strength and functionality of the hand, each company under the LVMH Métiers d'Art umbrella adds its unique strengths to create a powerful synergy.”

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

Simplicity, openness and luxurious yet functional finishes are omnipresent, with the building's five floors finished in a colour palette of white and ivory with contrasting black and deep red accents. Designed to be a continuation of the streetscape, the ground floor is paved with paving slabs, while the top floor is a flowing event space beneath the heritage-listed glass roof – the project's showpiece. “It's a bit Charlie and the big glass elevator' smiles the architect.

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

All together, it is designed to invite, involve and inform both the general public and the world of luxury goods, thus promoting craftsmanship. “My vision for the space was not to create a static museum, but a living, vibrant entity,” says de Rosa. “That's why we designed it to blend into the urban environment. It tells the story of our materials and shows the highlights of what the companies in our network deliver.”

New headquarters of LVMH

(Photo credit: James Nelson)

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