Christofle / Stephane Parmentier
The first time I remember discovering Christofle was in college seeing a Gio Ponti designed mask, Il Diavolo in a design magazine and that began my life long admiration of the architect and designer’s work.
Recently, at the ICFF off-site show Wanted Design I was re-introduced to Christofle and met the new flagship store designer Stephane Parmentier. Charles Christofle founded the company in 1830 in Paris and ten years later it became one of France’s most important jewelry companies. In 1842 he acquired the patents for gold and silver plating electolysis, creating a new material. Christofle began producing silverplate objects as well as sterling silver creations for Napoleon III and the Czar of Russia. One of the most notable commissions were the statues that sit atop the Paris Opera. As early as 1928, Gio Ponti began collaborating with Christofle on a variety of objects, flatware, and serving pieces. Stephane Parmentier, the French interior designer of the new store on Madison Avenue has created a space that combines Ponti’s design aesthetic and the Art Deco style of New York’s Chrysler Building. Following is a visual tour of Parmentiers’ Christofle flagship store bringing together the companies rich tradition with a new modernism. Parmentier wanted to create a space full of atmosphere and sensorial stimulation “A venue bursting with the sparks that fly when you fall in love,” and it certainly feels that way.
The store is a masterfully crafted contrast of materials and finishes combining rich, warm polished wood and highly reflective silver details complementing the flatware, jewelry and objects which Christofle created. Although the ceiling height is kept at a minumum, the mirrored surface overhead gives the illusion of an endless space above and visually reflects all of the product in an innovative way.
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