Hermès Wanderland at the Saatchi Gallery

Immersive, artistic and stylistically iconic, the exhibition entitled Hermès Wanderland has but a week left now, and Artistic Director Pierre-Alexis Dumas explains how the exhibition was curated to coincide with the 2015 theme Flâneur Forever. The design of the Hermès brand is impressed upon by curator Bruno Caudichon as it extends from the luxury goods displayed, to the stage on which they are presented.

However, Wanderland is not simply an exhibition of Hermès goods, it is a whole experience that celebrates the art of wandering, passing moments of discovery and seeing rather than just looking. A mixture of historic objects from the Émile Hermès collection and contemporary artefacts from the designer are arranged by Mirific to create entire sets that are further enhanced by the iconic cut-out Parisian imagery and abstract videography. Furthermore, we are presented with a series of charming phrases along the way that cause us to stop and consider the observation made, before ending with: “‘Stroll on’, they say”.

The success and popularity is clearly evident as the queue to enter the experience spills out down the corridor, trickling into subsequent rooms. As soon as we are guided (by no less than a very traditionally attired young gentleman) through the black drapery obscuring the doorway, we are transported into a Parisian wonderland of surrealism and style. While we journey through Wanderland, we lose complete comprehension of time and space; the usual vast, bright white space we expect to see in the Saatchi Gallery is entirely overwritten and transformed.

Each room has its own individual theme, which we are able to wander through and absorb at our own leisure. The design and layout of the experience is creative and varied, with differing colour and lighting concepts at each stop. Ambient music by Pilooski also follows us along our stroll that, with a fantastic nonchalant French touch, embodies the sentiment and mood of a flâneur perfectly. It is superb how accurately and effectively this music compliments the visual displays of Wanderland. My favourite part of the exhibition was the Eye Spies room. With wonky windows on the walls and the floor, the dimly light room is disorienting, and reveals more than you initially see when you enter. The entire experience demands the attention of all our senses, making it so wonderfully enchanting and magical.

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