A lifestyle brand with “a real soul” has launched in Paris, in a boutique that brings fashion together with furniture and homeware.
La Manufacture has opened a venue in the Opéra district of Paris, with a mission to show that design can still survive on the high street.
Company founder Robert Acouri, who also leads contract furniture company Cider, believes that a brand can endure even the most challenging of financial climates when it offers a special experience to the customer.
La Manufacture’s ethos is to combine French style and Italian craftsmanship, creating designs that have a timeless quality rather following the latest trends.
“It is a vision that I have had for such a long time,” Acouri told Dezeen. “The idea was to do something that has a real soul and see what happens.”
The concept came when Acouri asked Luca Nichetto to work on a design for Cider and the industrial designer turned him down. Nichetto instead encouraged the CEO to develop a second brand with a more editorial rather than commercial approach.
Acouri quickly brought Nichetto on board to be creative director. The pair also enlisted designer Milena Laquale to lead the fashion arm, given her experience across both haute couture and ready-to-wear, while Studio Blanco was given the important task of overseeing brand identity.
“The goal from the very beginning was to set up a platform and then start to fit all the ingredients into that,” explained Nichetto. “To have the right people with the right skills from the start was very, very important.”
The boutique, designed by Nichetto, is intended to be more of a shop than a showroom or a concept store.
Among the most noticeable pieces are Soufflé, a tall arched mirror designed by Nichetto; Stack, a sofa made up of stacked cushions by Nendo; and Work Extruded, a table with extruded aluminium legs by Ben Gorham.
Garments and accessories can be found in a dedicated dressing area at the end of the space, but also dotted around the store, displayed against tiled walls in shades of blue and white, and hanging over Nendo’s Perch coat stand.
The launch collection focuses on classic shapes, relaxed tailoring and staple colours. Bold patterns and bright hues are kept to a minimum.
The brand logo can be spotted all over the space. Not only does it feature in signage, it embellishes several of the fashion designs and even features in the extruded aluminium profiles that frame the shopfront.
Another important feature is an eight-metre-long marble-topped counter that serves as a checkout and product display area, but which can also be used as a buffet table when the shop is hosting parties or dinners.
La Manufacture hosted a series of launch events this month, coinciding with the Maison&Objet furniture fair and Paris Fashion Week Men’s. But Acouri doesn’t want to rush the international expansion.
The brand plans to debut the furniture in Milan in 2021 rather than this year, while an online store is still a while away.
“We take time on every decision we make to be sure that it is the right one,” said Acouri. “We really want to do it perfectly.”
The CEO isn’t fazed by the challenge of establishing the company, at a time when many other brands are struggling.
“When I opened my first company, it was 2012 and it was a really bad time,” he added. “Everyone told me I was crazy to open a showroom in the centre of Paris. I told them, if I survive now, I’ll always go far,” he continued.
“It’s exactly the same this time.”
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