Hermès and the city of Vienna share a long history—one that stretches back to the 1950s. This past fall the luxury house reopened its Vienna store, unveiling an expanded and renovated interior within a historic 18th-century building. Its crown jewel is the third-floor Salon Privé—Hermès’s VIP room—with an unexpected stained-glass-filled interior by French designer Pierre Marie.
Until this project, Pierre Marie was best known at Hermès for his vivid and fanciful scarf designs, which he’s devised at least twice per year for the past decade and a half, as well as his prints for women’s ready-to-wear and beach towels. But around two years ago, Pierre Marie was summoned to the office of artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas, who prodded the designer for his thoughts on ornament. It was clear that Dumas was familiar with Pierre Marie’s work outside of Hermès, which has included elaborate motifs in stained glass and other materials for exhibitions at venues like the Horta Museum. Dumas thought it would be interesting to see how Pierre Marie could collaborate with RDAI, the architects behind the Viennese renovation and expansion, to complement their modern architecture.
For the Salon Privé, the longtime collaborator received carte blanche to create his first Hermès interior. “I know the codes of the house, but I also know about the decorative arts and ornamentation and their place in today’s interior design,” says Pierre Marie. “I was immediately interested in this first interiors project for Hermès in Vienna as the city is a great source of inspiration for me.” The Vienna Secession Movement—the city’s defining wave of artists like Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffman, and Koloman Moser—was an influence, he notes.
Pierre Marie’s final work of art spanned custom fabrics, a rug, and wall coverings. Suspended above all of them is an intricate 16-panel stained glass-window, titled “A la Lueur du Flambeau (The Light of the Torch).” Its forms draw from the late 19th-century Viennese tale of a young man whose magic torch illuminates the beauty around him. “I took this as a mission to tell this story and always see the marvelous,” Pierre Marie says. “This is shown graphically with the torch and the strong yellow, radiating culture and beauty.”
Also incorporated within the stained-glass window are motifs from the Hermès archives of the house’s signature harness and buckle. Stepping into the Hermès Vienna Salon Privé is an invitation to a unique and special experience—and its interior reflects that, says Pierre Marie. “It’s theatrical with a bit of drama.”