“It has to be, somehow, the biggest concept store that has been built on the Champs-Élysées,” said Nicolas Houzé, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette. To give an impression of the size of the project, BIG’s renovation will see Galeries Lafayette occupy some 75,350 square feet, a tenth of the size of the chain’s outlet on the Haussmann Boulevard.
Speaking to Business of Fashion, Ingels was eager to note that the Art Deco heritage of the building would be maintained, paying respect to the established architectural aesthetic that is a recurring feature within the vicinity.
“We are inheriting a big, beautiful building that has been there for a century. So we are mostly moving around within it and playing with elements that have already been established. And I think it is going to feel like a joyful and playful environment for people to shop,” said Ingels.
BIG is set to install an “observatory” that will allow visitors to look down the avenue. Also included will be a “circus” which makes use of a translucent flooring system and an “infinite vitrine” that will display Melvin Sokolsky’s black-and-white photographs of models seemingly floating inside bubbles.
With regard to the renovation of a concealed skylight, Ingels pointed out that this would not be a simple copy of similar light at the Haussmann Boulevard. “We’re taking that element and letting it bleed out across the store, so that the lighting behaves in a similar way as when the clouds move over Paris.”