Known for its distinctive silverwork and tabletop pieces, the Parisian firm Christofle has established Studio Christofle on Melrose Place in Los Angeles as the international brand's sole concept store. The interiors of the boutique, which opened in 2013 and are completely re-imagined on an annual basis, have become something of an event for home décor enthusiasts.
"It is a one-of-a-kind design laboratory, which will be constantly evolving," says artistic director Stephane Parmentier, who oversaw the latest transformation of the boutique into a setting inspired by Parisian apartments and the architecture of Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann, whose urban planning transformed the French capital city in the mid-1800s.
To soften the contemporary design of the gallery-like space, Parmentier installed custom velvet panels imprinted with a trompe l'oeil pattern inspired by paneling and molding found in Haussmann-designed apartments. He also paid homage to the store's location in one of Los Angeles' best-known design districts by decorating with locally sourced antiques and midcentury pieces, including a $15,000 pair of armchairs that Hollywood decorator William Haines customized in a bold pink for actress Ann Rutherford.
"Our goal was a carefully constructed dialogue between classic beauty and modern sensibility," Parmentier says. "Christofle is a mix of styles, generations and feelings, and the boutique captures that with the mix of old and new."
Indeed, a double-shelf 1860s mahogany console displays Christofle's flatware, including the new Perles II stainless steel cutlery collection, and candelabras such as Marcel Wanders' intricate hand-engraved Jardin D'Eden pattern. And, in a departure from traditional retailing, other items are displayed on contemporary furnishings that are for sale to the public: hexagonal brass Basalt Tables (a set of three, $2,000, from Martin Huxford Studio), Christofle's Arborescence Smoked Glass Square Coffee Table, $8,500, by the French artist and industrial designer Ora-Ïto; and travertine pedestals priced upon request.
For those who become besotted with the style of the store, even the custom-printed velvet wall covering and the vintage daybed can be purchased, along with a 1970s XXL Christofle champagne bucket shaped like a palm tree and a whimsical lifelike ram covered in genuine sheepskin.
And though the 185-year-old Christofle, which was silversmith to royalty, has its share of luxuries —including a $10,000 limited-edition sterling and onyx Silver Kingdom crown by Los Angeles designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard — it also has more affordable indulgences. In its first foray into the classic hostess gift — scented candles — Christofle's honey, musk and vanilla-fragranced Miel D'Argent and the bergamot, iris and leather blend of Lune D'Argent are priced at $60.