Last fall, Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta caught the design world’s attention by collaborating with Gaetano Pesce on a runway set that bordered a curvy, rainbow-hued river with rows of resin chairs. Now, the brand is continuing its hot streak by unveiling a redesign of its two-storey flagship on Avenue Montaigne. The first of Bottega Veneta’s retail locations to be reimagined by its new creative director, Matthieu Blazy (who stepped into the role in late 2021), the Paris store is a fitting reflection of both the brand’s heritage and its ongoing evolution.

A shelving unit holds three rows of Bottega Veneta handbags at the brand's Paris boutique. Grids of glass block line the floor, wall and ceiling.
A purple Bottega Veneta handbag sits inside of a wooden wall niche in the brand's Paris store.

Having started off as an artisanal leather goods brand back in 1966, Bottega Veneta remains best known for its intrecciato technique, which weaves strips of leather together into a textural grid pattern. Where other luxury companies stamp logos on their handbags, Bottega relies on this distinctive braiding method as its sole brand signifier. Building on the company’s history of playful material experimentation, Blazy has recently led Bottega into new territory with trompe l’oeil clothing that appears to be made out of denim or flannel, but is actually leather.

A black sofa and two armchairs made out of woven leather straps sit in a wood-panelled room with square glass blocks integrated into the floor ceiling and walls at the Bottega Veneta Paris store.

The brand’s new Paris boutique continues in this same vein. For one thing, there’s plenty of leather furniture inside — including custom Mario Bellini-designed armchairs that recreate Bottega’s classic woven pattern using extra-wide strips. Other elements act as a more abstract reference to the brand’s signature pattern: Square glass blocks clustered into five-by-five grids supersize the grid arrangement that you find on Bottega’s Cassette bags. 

Glass block screens sit on either side of a doorway leading into a walnut-panelled room with a green rug.
Glass block flooring leads into a room featuring a wall unit displaying three rows of leather boots.

Because they’re hand-cast by Venetian artisans, these glass screens also double as a reflection of Bottega Veneta’s commitment to Italian craft production. (Similarly, glass door handles are a custom commission from Venetian artist Ritsue Mishima.) That said, while the store embraces traditional, slightly retro materials, the overall effect is of a futuristic space odyssey. If mid-century modernists had envisioned a space station, it might have looked something like this.

A sinuous wooden staircase in a walnut-panelled room in the Bottega Veneta Paris store.
A rounded column clad in a puzzle-like arrangement of differently shaped wooden blocks.

Apart from giving the project a sci-fi feel, the store’s many translucent screens also help to carry light throughout the wood-heavy rooms. Yet the project’s walnut paneling also demonstrates its own sense of lightness, curling its way into curved hallways and twisting into a sculptural feature staircase. Throughout, rounded wood columns and tables composed of intricate, puzzle-like arrangements of square and rectangular blocks are yet another nod to Bottega’s woven design language.

Industrial shelving displays a selection of handbags inside a wood-panelled room with square glass blocks integrated into the floor ceiling and walls at the Bottega Veneta Paris store.

But it might be the store’s unconventional fixtures that serve as the ultimate showcase of Blazy’s inventive spirit. Curved clothing racks with a slightly industrial quality look almost like dryer vents from far away, but reveal themselves up close to actually be made of more glass. (Others are executed in walnut.) Meanwhile, one of Blazy’s hit accessory designs — Bottega Veneta’s Drop earrings — are adapted into door handles and clothes hooks.

A sinuous wooden staircase sits behind a curved wooden table in a walnut-panelled room accented with glass block grids in the Bottega Veneta Paris store.

If there’s a lesson to take away from the Paris store’s design, it’s that Bottega Veneta’s time-honoured intrecciato technique is in no danger of going out of style any time soon. Reinterpreted by the right designer, the brand’s signature grid pattern can look not only fresh, but downright futuristic.

The post Bottega Veneta Weaves a Space Odyssey in Paris appeared first on Azure Magazine.