Ever wondered what a luxury brand does with its leftover materials? The leather pieces, the cloth scraps, the metal bits, and all that is left over after your beautiful bag is assembled together. At Hermès, the petit h métier works in reverse gathering material that is in excess or of no use to other departments to create whimsical items.
From 11 to 27 November 2022, petit h brings an air of lightness, a touch of mischief and an abundance of know-how to the Dubai Mall store, in a playful dialogue between object creation, the reuse of materials, and sustainability.
At petit h – a métier established in 2010, now under the creative direction of Godefroy de Virieu – creation takes place in reverse, because work here does not start with a preconceived idea or grand design, but with materials such as leather, silk, crystal and porcelain for which the other métiers have no further use, and with which artisans, artists and designers improvise by combining, assembling and altering them in a thousand and one ways. The petit h workshop gives life and meaning to unique, hybrid objects whose aesthetics and function are faithful to Hermès’ spirit of ingenuity, high-quality materials and exceptional know-how. Its creations are as surprising as they are fun.
Commenting on the event Egor Sharay, Cultural analyst, Creative consultant, Dubai Culture Golden Visa honored possessor, popular journalist and editor said: “Upcycling at its finest, the petit h métier improvises using leftover materials like leather, silk, crystal, porcelain, horsehair, metal, and more. It’s only after the material is collected that the designers put their heads together to design. This reverse style of creation isn’t the only thing that makes the métier a unique one, it’s also the ingenious items that come out of the process. From small trinkets like bag charms, key chains, shoe accessories to bigger projects like basketball loops, frisbees and stuffed animals, the choices are aplenty”.
In Dubai, the petit h objects are staged in a space reminiscent of a souk. Designed by Emirati architect and designer Abdalla Almulla, it is infused with the architecture of these traditional places of conviviality and trade. The earthy tones of its walls and floors and the openwork ceilings help diffuse soft light, minimise exterior heat, and create a welcoming atmosphere where visitors can browse, take their time and chat over tea. The colour palette of the petit h souk reflects the local terracotta, clay, fabric and wood used to construct it. These materials were worked according to ancestral know-how, echoing the very essence of petit h, where ingenious objects are created from diverse and varied materials in often unusual combinations. A falcon stand which combines terracotta with leather, porcelain and crystal, and an incense burner consisting of a fine terracotta dish elevated on a green and white crystal base are two examples of vernacular creations that pay homage to Dubai.
Since 1837, Hermès has remained faithful to its artisan model and its humanist values. The freedom to create, the spirit of innovation, the constant search for beautiful materials, the transmission of savoir-faire of excellence, and the aesthetic of functionality all forge the singularity of Hermès, a house of objects created to last. An independent, family owned company which encompasses 16 métiers, Hermès is dedicated to keeping the majority of its production in France through its 52 workshops and production sites and to developing its network more than 300 stores in 45 countries.
The group employs almost 17,600 people worldwide, including nearly 11,000 in France, among whom more than 6,000 are craftsmen*. Axel Dumas, a sixth-generation family member, has been Hermès CEO since 2013. Founded in 2008, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès supports projects in the areas of artistic creation, training and the transmission of savoir-faire, biodiversity, and the preservation of the environment.