Thursday, 23 April 2015

Hermes Wanderland

This exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery was a delightful surprise and a bonus to the main Pangaea II show that I had gone to see. It is so wonderfully designed and curated and a magical experience. Hermes is a luxury brand and this exhibition showcases their immaculately crafted wares. 

Entrance to the exhibition

Visitors enter the exhibition Narnia-style, through a large wardrobe and are transported through magical rooms displaying items from Hermes historic collections.

A map of the different rooms

The exhibition is a celebration of the concept of Flanerie - the 19th century French art of the leisurely stroll. It's about curiosity, walking the streets of the city, seeing it through fresh eyes and enjoying the discoveries you make.

Topsy-turvy street furniture containing vintage Hermes pieces

There are eleven rooms in the exhibition, and I made discoveries whilst strolling through them, about the 178 year old Hermes brand and the levels of luxury and craftsmanship that the Hermes brand represents. I was surprised by the unashamed opulence of the items on display, and it seems that one's imagination is the only limit on what objects can be made by Hermes team of craftsmen. If you can think it, they can make it - however outlandish or impractical. No item is considered too humble or insignificant to be spared the Hermes touch. There was a crash helmet covered in fur. A leather and ruched velvet saddle. Although they looked fabulous I wondered what practical use they could actually be put to. But then to think in terms of practicality in this exhibition is to miss the point.

 Chess set in an upturned chair
Bottled leather "fruit" purses
Digital technology and luxury items

Graffiti and neon lighting 

 Elephant in a china shop

 That fur covered helmet

 Beautifully crafted leather petrol canister

 That amazing leather/velvet saddle

Crystal goblet chandelier which rotated and cast beautiful shadows
I don't think I will visit a better designed or imaginatively displayed exhibition this year. Set designer Hubert le Gall and his team of designers have done a marvellous job. It was a great experience to feel that child-like sense of wonder again. See more here.

Hermes Wanderland
until 2nd May
Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ
King's Road