- As the brand prepares to unveil its LV Dream experiential space in Paris, chairman and chief executive officer Michael Burke revealed plans to transform Vuitton's corporate offices into a hospitality and retail complex.
Michael Burke won’t be enjoying his office at Louis Vuitton’s Paris, France, headquarters for much longer.
In an interview, the chairman and chief executive officer of the French luxury brand revealed plans to transform Louis Vuitton’s corporate offices into a sprawling complex including the world’s first Louis Vuitton hotel and its largest store worldwide — and that involves giving up his office, with its sweeping vistas of the historic center of Paris.
“It is the most spectacular view in the world,” he said, describing a panorama stretching from the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame de Paris, not to mention the neighboring Church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, which dates back to the 13th century.
Parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has radically transformed the surrounding neighborhood in the last 18 months with the unveiling of the renovated La Samaritaine department store and Cheval Blanc hotel, and the opening of the first Paris branch of its Italian pastry stores, Cova.
“Parisians are finally rediscovering it. They’ve embraced it. There’s street music now at 11 p.m. outside here. When we took it over, this was a no man’s land, if not worse. Nobody in their right mind would walk here in the night,” Burke said.
And he revealed that Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, is only getting started, with plans to attract more offices, stores, housing, restaurants and cultural activities to the area.
“My dream was to create a renaissance of the original commercial downtown of Paris,” Burke said. “It’s been Bernard’s vision all along and we’re halfway there. It’ll take another 10, 15 years to take it to where we think it should be.”
On Tuesday, Vuitton will hold an event to inaugurate an experiential space dubbed LV Dream as the first step toward its ambitious transformation of the 400,000-square-foot headquarters. “I’ve told Bernard, you know, my office is not going to be my office within five years, that’s for sure. There’s better uses, more contemporary uses for it than a corporate office,” Burke said.
The plans reflect a growing push by fashion and luxury brands into hospitality, as consumers increase spending on experiences. “That’s what our clients want from us. They want a 24/7 relationship,” Burke said.
The space actually isn’t set to open to the public until Dec. 12. Due to remain open for one year, the 20,000-square-foot locale features an exhibition highlighting the brand’s collaborations with artists, alongside a gift store, and a café and chocolate shop run by Maxime Frédéric, the head pastry chef at Cheval Blanc Paris.
It occupies a commercial space, located within the Vuitton building, that formerly housed a Conforama furniture store. Before that, for almost a century, the edifice was home to La Belle Jardinière, a department store famed for its accessibly priced clothing. Together with La Samaritaine, it turned the area into a magnet for shoppers in the second half of the 19th century.