Traditionally, we eagerly await the extravagant window displays New York City shops will create leading up to Christmas. However this year, our attention has turned away from Madison Avenue and to the boutique windows of the Middle East to view a maison in full bloom. Van Cleef & Arpels collaborated with Alexandre Benjamin Navet, winner of the Grand Prix Design Parade Toulon Van Cleef & Arpels in 2017, to create jubilant window displays of color, shapes, and most iconically, flowers. And unlike the Christmas windows, this project will continue on throughout the year with an interior immersive installation as well.
From November 2020, the shop windows of Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques will be adorned with the French artist’s reinterpretation of the Maison’s treasured themes, flowers. Cut outs and curved sculptures are intricately designed to represent the flowers, vases, and stems, with the jewelry draped within the artwork.
“I wanted to create the illusion that they had appeared in the windows during the night as if by magic,” says Navet. “It reminds me of that wonderful moment when you find yourself looking at a garden covered in dew, with flowers that have just bloomed. That’s how the project feels for me: it’s as if the Maison came to meet me at a table with empty vases, and fabulous flowers had bloomed in them the next day.”
An imaginary garden, rich with pastels, floral arrangements, and bouquets comes to life in the immersive architectural experience, giving each visitor the magical feeling of being within Navet’s own open sketchbook, as they wander through the pages and blur the lines between art, artist, and audience.
“The in situ scenery is a development of the window displays, but on a different scale. We leave the scale of jewelry behind and move to that of interior design, we move from the scale of the hand to that of the body. I couldn’t create the same thing, because you experience it differently…I really want to set up an artistic dialogue with the space.”