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Hermès installation at Milan design week

Hermès creates "monumental" water tower structures that glow like lanterns

Fashion brand Hermès has built four large structures modelled on water towers and covered in translucent sheets of coloured paper inside events space La Pelota at Milan design week.

Visitors can enter the towers, which are made from ash wood and paper, to find the brand's latest homeware collection displayed on stacks of paper pulp and hanging along wooden rails.

Four colourful towers
Hermès has built four colourful towers inside an event space in Milan

The installation is set within the expansive industrial building La Pelota, which is located in Milan's Brera neighbourhood.

Hermès' artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry built the structures to reflect the brand's 2022 theme of lightness.

A pink tower next to a green tower
The towers are made from ash wood and paper

"This year we took inspiration from both the Hermès theme for 2022 – lighthearted – and water towers," said Perelman.

"The lightness is reflected in the materials we have used, for example, the paper," she told Dezeen.

"It is also in the simplicity of the shapes and the way they are designed, as well as the colours that we selected, which bring a lighthearted spirit to the whole scenography."

An orange and pink wooden tower
Each one appears to glow from the outside

Perelman was motivated to make the structures look like water towers after reading a photography book called Water Towers by Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher. These industrial structures come in a variety of shapes and materials such as metal, concrete and wood and can be set on stones or even towering pylons.

At La Pelota, one tower is cone-shaped, another is formed of two cubic boxes stacked on top of each other and the third is pyramidic. The final tower is clad in yellow and blue paper and has a hexagonal base.

A blue and yellow structure by Hermès
Hermès wanted the structures to appear light and intimate despite their size

All are lit up by light from the inside, which filters through the thin paper shell and makes the towers appear to glow.

After Milan design week, the installation will be reused and recycled, with the paper pulp that is used to display the collections being sent back to the factory to create paper.

"We wanted to create a scenography that was big in scale but very light in the feeling it gives," said Fabry.

"The installations are monumental, but at the same time they are also very intimate," he told Dezeen.

"Our perception changes as light plays over them when backlit against the scenographic structures: poetic giants and anchoring points for these small miracles of equilibrium."

The inside of Hermès tower structure
The brand's homeware collection is displayed inside each tower

Inside, the French brand has set its homeware items such as porcelain mugs and paper-thin lights on top of tiered platforms of paper pulp.

Other products on display include a cane chair and handwoven bowls. An array of soft furnishings such as quilts and rugs hang from ash wood rails that run along the edge of the towers.

Paper lights on top of stacks of paper pulp
Stacks of paper pulp forms tiered platforms to showcase the products

These lightweight fabrics are woven in geometric patterns designed to evoke stained glass windows.

Last year, Hermès exhibited its homeware collection in five colourful houses at the same venue at Milan design week. The fashion house's Amsterdam store has a glass-fronted exterior that was designed by architecture studio MVRDV.

Images are courtesy of Hermès.

Hermès' installation is part of Milan design week 2022, which takes place from 6 to 12 June 2022. See our Milan design week 2022 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

More images

Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation
Hermès Milan design week water tower installation