Balmain opens its first London flagship, set in the heart of Mayfair, on South Audley Street.
Designed by Joseph Dirand, the architect who oversaw 2009 transformation of the house’s historic Paris flagship, the new 220-square-meter boutique has sober stone exterior, with both the expansive front window and glass entry framed in black lacquer and gold leaf.
Dirand explains that his work is a continuation, not a replication, of his previous work for the house.
“The concept behind the design for Balmain’s original address was to create a uniquely elegant space—a Parisian townhouse—where the house founder, Pierre Balmain, would have been very much at home. This London flagship translates that French refinement into an English vocabulary. I like to think of this new address as the founder’s second home, Pierre Balmain’s London pied-a-terre.”
For his translation work, Dirand has relied on the aristocratic vocabulary of the Queen Anne Revival style—the defining architectural style of the surrounding Mayfair neighborhood—ensuring that the new flagship fits perfectly into its location, while remaining true to the Pierre Balmain’s refined taste. The space’s doors, ceilings, mirrors and large stone fireplace all channel the classically sober English style.
The stone floor’s striking geometric design, created with beige thalas and grey hainaut stone, is a contemporary play on traditional English parquet patterns.
To furnish this “second home,” Dirand has created pieces inspired by the house founder’s favorite mid-century French furniture designers, André Arbus and Jean Royère. “Obviously,” explains Dirand, “if Pierre Balmain had moved to London, he would have brought the furniture he loved along with him.” The interiors also rely on the same sleek antique brass and polished stainless steel fixtures that Dirand designed for the Paris flagship.
Emmanuel Diemoz, the company’s CEO, notes that London has always been an important market for the brand: “Balmain has a particularly strong and loyal clientele in the English capital and we’re very happy to be able to offer them this first London flagship. Just as in our Paris flagship, Joseph Dirand has created the perfect classically elegant backdrop for the modern designs of the house’s Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing.”