“Whimsical Modernity”

Company History

Established in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, originally as a harness workshop, Hermès has evolved into a world-renowned manufacturer of luxury goods. Steeped in heritage, Hermès offers goods from a variety of “métiers” from iconic leather goods such as the Kelly bag to classic silk scarves, ties, to namesake fragrances.

The Challenge

As multi channel retailing, social media and technology integration are adapted by the luxury retail industry Hermès explores how they can innovate by making technology the craftsmanship of the future. As an iconic brand, rich in heritage, Hermès seeks to find a way to integrate technology into their customer experience while preserving the core values of the brand. How can Hermès engage the customer before they even enter the store? Once inside the store, how can Hermès tell the story behind their famous “métiers” in a welcoming and interactive way? The brand explores “brand-relevant strategic content” brought to life in a way in keeping with their heritage, at the same time underscoring the fact that in the world of luxury Hermès is in a class by itself. These are the questions addressed by the CBS and Parsons team.

“Introducing: The Living House”

The Living House is a multi dimensional program integrating technology into the Hermès customer experience. The Living House combines the tactile experience luxury with the rich story telling and history of the Hermès brand. The CBS and Parsons team designed the experience to reach customers before they even enter the store. Iconic products such as the Hermès Birkin Bag will be displayed in the window. Hand shaped appliques with classic Hermes orange stitching encourage passersby to place their hand on the window. As they place their hand on the glass Hermès craftspeople appear in the window and illustrate the meticulous detail involved in creating each product. Once inside the store a table with a clock displayed on its top beckons consumers to interact. When a guest touches the table 14 icons representing the “métiers” appear. When selected the customer is able to learn the history of each and is encouraged to speak with sales associates to learn more. IPads placed at the silk counter bring the craftsmanship of the Hermès scarf to life when placed over the item. Simultaneously the sales staff is alerted to the interests of each guest and is able to send them a hand written note underscoring the tradition of the brand.

Team Hermès

Silvana Perez Cunarro, Columbia Business School MBA

Sarah Robinson, Columbia Business School MBA

Jamie Swango, Columbia Business School MBA

Nattavadee Temkassem, Columbia Business School MBA

Michael York, Columbia Business School MBA

Marisa Glick, Parsons The New School for Design

Margrethe Harboe, Parsons The New School for Design

Wei Ng, Parsons The New School for Design

Anna Soetarso, Parsons The New School for Design