This week Chanel re-opened its NYC flagship store after years of construction. The now 14,000 square-foot boutique at 57th St. and 5th Ave. is four floors of a Chanel lover’s dream, full of ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, jewelry, and fragrance and beauty.
And while that’s all impressive, the most dramatic part of the boutique is without a doubt the 60-foot tall pearl necklace sculpture artist Jean-Michel Othoniel created for the new flagship location.
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Swirling down the center of the four-story central staircase, the sculpture, crafted in mirrored stainless steel and gilded glass beads, is a nod to the pearl necklaces Mademoiselle Chanel so often wore. “We had to imagine a piece in relation to this scale and come up with a game between the use and the scenography of the boutique, playing with the notion of American supersize,” Jean-Michel Othoniel said in an interview about the how the piece came together.
“I thought of two enormous glass beaded necklaces that form big bows in the space and thus fill the stair case. Positioned at the center of the building, the work is composed of a hundred spheres blown by hand, then rolled in white gold leaf and mirrored to double the presence of this leaf. Ranging in sizes, some of them are as big as 18 cm in diameter.”
According to Othoniel, the preparation to create the piece alone took a year and a half. Watch it come together in the clip above.