Old-world opulence: Louis Vuitton Vendôme, Paris
Louis Vuitton boutiques epitomise sophistication with their retail interior design, perhaps none so much as the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme in Paris. This elegant space is housed behind a façade designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect most famous for the Château de Versailles. The lush, neoclassical exterior and intricate ironwork doors give way to a contemporary interior conceived by New York star architect Peter Marino, all airy ceilings, handpicked artwork and geometric lighting fixtures. Glass balustrades and stainless-steel cables lend a modern, minimalist contrast to sumptuous soft furnishings.
The shop sprawls across four floors, with each one connected by staircases crafted from 18th-century stone. The space is carefully curated to reflect the history and evolution of this fabled house, from its original incarnation as a luggage supplier to its position at the top of the luxury market.
Ethereal immersion: Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Innsbruck
Swarovski Crystal Worlds is more than a mere shopping space; it’s an immersive cultural experience showcasing art installations from designers like Manish Arora and Jean Paul Gaultier. Swarovski’s retail store design reflects the brand’s centuries-old heritage, blending it with contemporary artworks including crystal-accented stairs and a statement chandelier designed by Vincent van Duysen. Visitors can indulge in refreshments at the on-site bar or explore the Art Space, which showcases satellite photos of global cities to represent Swarovski’s international reach. The brand's contemporary and classic jewellery collections are beautifully presented in well-lit salon spaces.
This glittering example of retail interior design extends outdoors. The boutique boasts an elegantly landscaped garden, capped by its awe-inspiring ‘Crystal Cloud’ made from 800,000 floating crystals. Reflected in the adjacent Mirror Pool, it creates the magical effect of a sea of stars.
Modern retail interior design: Prada Epicenter, New York
New York’s Prada Epicenter blurs the lines between retail interior design and gallery space. Covering 23,000 square feet, this SoHo boutique sits in a former Guggenheim Museum outpost. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas at OMA and is characterised by an undulating zebra wood ramp called ‘The Wave’. This curved space features sloping lines with steps that give way to a stage, creating a natural performance venue.
Prada’s customers can use innovative technology to assist them with their purchasing experience. Changing-room doors are transformed from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button, while clothing can be examined virtually from all angles via video projection. Products are showcased in unexpected ways, whether hung from above in metal cages or artfully positioned on steps. The store’s clinic area houses its private VIP rooms and tailoring workshops, clad in all white to lend a sleek, minimalist contrast to the colourful lights and kaleidoscopic murals of the main space.
Though Prada, Swarovski and Louis Vuitton cater to different audiences, what each brand has in common is impeccable attention to detail in their retail store design. Shopping at these stores transcends simply buying a product; it is all about experiencing the incredible fantasy world of high fashion.