When Martine and Armand Hadida opened their first boutique on the Champs Elysée in 1980, the plan was to introduce new and emerging fashion brands to Paris. (L'Eclaireur //fr. = Scout //eng.). In 2009 L’Eclaireur dares to take it to another level by entrusting the realization of their new 450 m2 venue on 40 rue de Sévigné in Paris, to Belgian artist Arne Quinze. Founder of Studio Arne Quinze, the conceptual architecture and design platform, Arne Quinze is a self-taught man who’s talent manifests in multiple disciplines: contemporary art, video installations, modern transportation techniques and spaces like Square Brussels Meeting Center (2009), die kunstbar in Cologne (2008) and upcoming a grand conceptual architecture masterplan for Belair, a 100000 square meter location in Brussels. Nevertheless these crossovers Arne Quinze stays foremost an artist.
Not a simple boutique but a remarkable interactive installation where every visitor will undergo their specific experience is being manufactured. In the secrecy of the contemporary architecture of this place and the used modern technique answers have to be sought and the selection of Armand and Martine have to be discovered. Reality and illusion inter- play constantly. By night, the venue even can become a gallery, a genuine experimental place journeying on the pace of the video installation. More than two tons of wooden planks were delivered before the scenography was shaped in the form of an organic sculpture and the walls were hung with 147 animated video screens. Yet in their current form they seem weightless. Like an imaginary city in a city, the spaces impresses by transcending the power of the moving lines, the interplay of light and dark, and its pers- pective that shatters the normal code of « retail ».
" This place inspires us to dream. Going further each time, that’s our luxury. Without any affiliation to what already exists. Instigate research, relations, amazement. Making a difference in finding the right expression of the moment."
" It’s not a shop, it’s an experience. It’s not a decor and not an artwork, but it’s absolutely an expression. It will be up to the people to make it their own. My biggest joy would be if they would undergo an imaginary travel in their heads. I’ve filmed the eyes of my wife Barbara Becker which I’ve smurred in mud. You can’t see if it’s an animal or a human presence while the video is projected non stop. Behind a box of plexiglas the effect of transparancy suddenly reveals the body which can come as shock to certain viewers."
To contradict the usual merchandising standards of the ninties, Armand Hadida mixed fashion accessories with unique collector items or pieces from China or other exotique parts of the world like he had seen in the dressing room of one of his friends.
« I love ordered chaos » explains Armand Hadida. He’s attentive to offer a more sensual, exquisite approach of fashion and in general reflecting the same spirt in a way of life. Construction almost took a year: recycled elements, wooden planks, printer plates, painted paperboards glowing like coach work and varnished with polyurethane giving the materials this incomparable irregular effect are implemented with highly advanced technology… On top of that the effect is inten-sified by the use of video screens or modular LED light by Zumtobel.
In an astonishing and multidisciplinary partnership, L’Eclaireur welcomes, as one of first in Paris, the famous and bewaited Surface table of Microsoft. A first stone between two universes coming together, over the next weeks the table will evolve in relation to the renewes space rue Sévingé. Just like it will interact with the installation Windows Experience of Electronic Shadow inaugurated on the same day at the new head office of Microsoft in Issy-les Moulineaux. The boarders between user experience, design, art and technologie, between reality and the imaginary have never been this unchained.
At the heart of the space, the Roombook, an eye-catching piece signed by the artists of Electronic Shadow, let’s the visitor to see the other side of the mirror. Naziha Mestaoui and Yacine Ait Kaci had been given carte blanche to install this projection on a the screen which is to become a creation over time as all the different chapters are not written yet. () The first chapter, Echo and Narcissus, est une installation confronting the visitor with an intimite visualisation of the geographical statistiques in real time in a large gap between oneselve and the world, Echo and Narcissus. Population, energy, expenditure, all these statistics become real to fill the basin of their waves. A reflection is provoked by the light wherein everyone can detect l’echo of the world.
THE HISTORY OF L'Eclaireur
In 1980, Armand Hadida opens his first point of sale in the basement of a gallery on the Champs Elysées. For him a way to affirm his chosen path by proposing clothes of designers embodying the brightness in fashion for the upcoming decennia. He becomes the first distributor of brands like Girbaud, Prada, Helmut Lang, John Galliano, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela in France. Since then, l’Eclaireur has opened four other shops established as true venues, meeting points for all the aficionados being terrified of only one word : « shopping ». The nineties bring about a new challenge, the opening of the boutique in ‘rue des Rosiers’, with a strong eclectic collection. Hadida introduces the « Antwerp 6 » together with names as Sipek, Dubreuil, Starck, Comme des Garçons, Hussein Chalayan etc… An important step forward.
Pioneers in combining design and fashion, pioneers in breaking away with the traditional distribution system, Armand & Martine Hadida gave a new direction to the highly banalised profession of « retail selling ». Extremely sharp-edged choices and a service dedicated to the needs of the specific client serve as the basic principles of the couple. At L’Eclaireur the client is invited to take part in a story where creators appear to be actors. Still located in the Marais in 2000 a new L’Eclaireur solely concentrating on men’s fashion opens its doors in rue Malher. A year later in 2001, the fearless couple endeavours a new challenge opening Hérold (place des Victoires )without any windows, without a name and without any visibility in the street. « In this space we only wanted to put the exclusive character of the designers in the spotlights instead of focussing on a large marketing campaign…» Intuition and their instinct how to create a difference mark the force of this visionary duo.
At L’Eclaireur, first of all the client is welcomed as the host of the venue. Martine Hadida believes you can only grow by fascinating encounters and passing on the passion of presenting artistic creations rather than merely showing collections. « Blazing more nobility in our places. Transpose the talent of those who launch new trends in the world of fashion. When we possess this magnificent seeds, we have to let them cultivate in an authentic composition » illuminates Armand Hadida. In 2008, L’Eclaireur established rue Boissy d’Anglas, revisiting the spirit of Faubourg between Lanvin and Hermès. Refering to the magic of a tribute to Piero Fornasetti intensifies a luxury based on the art of surprising people. L’Eclaireur turns the cards and opens a restaurant in a decor based on the archives of this illusionist.