Text: Britta Rossander
The Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola has been given the responsibility for the interior decoration of Panerai’s stores, an assignment that she is deeply thrilled about.
Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence as a watchmaker and repair shop. For a long time, the brand supplied the Italian navy with watches, worn especially by attack divers. Back in those days the iconic models Luminor and Radiomir were surrounded by military secrecy. But the veil was lifted in 1997 and a launch on the international market became possible.
Patricia Urquiola lives and works in Milan where Panerai’s headquarters are also located. She started her business in 2001 in the areas of design, architecture and installations. Among her clients are luxury hotels like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona, Das Stue Hotel in Berlin and the Four Seasons spa in Milan.
The address of the newly refurbished store is number 5 on the famous street Faubourg de Saint Honoré and the floor area is 100 square meters which makes it Panerai’s largest store. It makes the store in Portofino look like a closet.
Patricia Urquiola has come up with new interpretations of the aesthetic codes and techniques that have been associated with Officine Panerai ever since the start. The décor oozes timeless design with materials like marble, bronze and wood, which give a hint of the brand’s Florence heritage.
– Patricia Urquiola’s design conveys a perfect philosophy of the company, her ability to blend modernity and tradition, the past with the future, design with technological expertise are exactly what Panerai stands for, says Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai.
– Giving Patricia the responsibility of developing our new concept for our stores has been a stimulating challenge for both of us. I use the word challenge because several variables have to connect, like for example a deluxe brand and a military heritage that must communicate in a subtle and exclusive manner. Our restrictive aesthetic codes and an eclectic and talented Spanish designer, with boundless creativity, lots of love for colors and shapes, and the ability to come up with surprises, makes this a challenge.
Panerai’s original store in Florence recently opened again after being shut down for a long period. Patricia Urquiola is happy with the result, and Hans Dekker who is responsible for Panerai in Scandinavia says: “Florence is a bottomless well of provenience and heritage for the brand, something that we will work with a lot in the near future.”
The new store concept will also become a reality in three other cities with a strategic value to the brand: Hong Kong, Miami and New York.