PARIS — Bernard Arnault is a very hands-on luxury titan — occasionally even having a hand in architecture.
That’s the case with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s new research facility for its fragrance and cosmetics activities, based just outside of Orléans, France. It is named after the Greek sun god, Hélios.
Officially inaugurated Monday when LVMH’s managing director Antonio Belloni snipped a ribbon, the triangular center comprises six, three-story buildings with a communal area at the center.
Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and chief executive officer, was involved in the project’s design, said Claude Martinez, president and ceo of Parfums Christian Dior.
From the outset, Arnault liked the shape, “which is quite unique because it favors and enhances the connection between the three key dimensions of what we are doing here, which is research, formulation and — [an element] getting more and more important — regulation,” said Martinez.
“He was really involved in the way we designed the roof,” said Martinez, of the transparent, skinlike structure. “[Arnault] was clearly involved in the facade, from the outside, and had the idea of having a second level of architecture.”
The 200,000-square-foot center in Saint Jean de Braye houses 250 research scientists from more than 20 disciplines, such as ethnobotany, which create some 1,200 products each year. It is focused primarily on the brands Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy and Fresh — although other LVMH beauty labels are also involved.
LVMH invested between 30 million euros and 40 million euros, or $40.6 million and $54.1 million at current exchange, in its construction, according to the company.
Modern and streamlined in black, white and gray tones, the Arte Charpentier-designed building sits on a 55-hectare, or 135-acre, park and complies with France’s High Environmental Quality standard, which involves limiting the environmental impact a building has while ensuring its optimum interior living conditions. To build the structure, 200 trees were cut down but 450 were replanted, for instance.
From the central area, with its undulating roof, staircases lead up to the labs and there are steps downstairs, to a garden level where there is a library, forum and training or meeting rooms. Natural light floods into the entire building.
Raw materials are stored in its lowest level.
Hélios is located in the region know as “Cosmetic Valley,” which is also the name of a business cluster comprised of numerous beauty companies. With the organization, LVMH research will be working on a program that involves helping nurture some small and medium-size companies in the sector, and also includes Orléans University.
Hélios, which has been running since September, can accommodate up to 300 researchers.
New products generate between 20 percent and 25 percent of LVMH’s perfume and cosmetics revenues that in 2012 amounted to 3.61 billion euros, or $4.64 billion at average exchange. The division has about 200 patents and invests between 2.5 percent and 3 percent of its sales in research and development.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion