The highly-anticipated Hermès “Wanderland” exhibit opened today in London, dedicated to that wonderful feeling of wandering around a city aimlessly, taking in the sights, culture and everyday life—or, as the French call it, flânerie. Making its debut at the capital’s Saatchi Gallery, the exhibit will then move to Paris in September, Turin in Italy, in December and China in 2016.
As an exploration of the theme, the brand has transformed the upper floor of the gallery into several fantastical settings spanning 11 rooms. “A wonderfully liberating art of urban wandering is second nature to Hermès,” explained Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of the company. The rooms feature several whimsical spaces, including one with vintage walking sticks, one with graffiti created by the artist known as Cept and another with panels that “talk” when a visitor walks on them. “Paris would have been the obvious choice, but London is the ideal city for the 21st century flâneur. There is something happening here,” said Dumas. Ultimately he wanted to explore “what wandering is about. My hope is that people come to the show, maybe forget reality, and then look at their own city with new eyes. We must never lose our ability to dream, to wander, to go with the flow and let ourselves be surprised.”
“Wanderland,” created by Bruno Gaudichon, curator of La Piscine-Musée d’Art et d’Industrie in Roubaix, and set designed by Hubert le Gall, will run in London until May 2. In addition to the exhibit, Hermès has also created a book of quirky images that will complement the exhibit and that will, Dumas hopes, encourage visitors to “think about the world we live in, and feel the presence of those who made the objects.”