Written by By Hannah Parry, CNN Jerusalem
For twelve days, an unusual mews house in the Kent countryside served as Chanel’s private studio. The house is the work of master architect Perrry Cook , which has designed more than 20 buildings for the luxury brand since 2013. As she went about her job on site, her office was literally bursting at the seams.
” I’m very much a minimalist, so I could happily live without a lot of decoration and, I must say, my office was a bit too stuffy for me,” said Cook, who responded to Chanel’s request for an architect-like work space for its 11 designers.
“(The plans) would change over the course of two years, every day. At one point, the designers needed a 40-square-meter kitchen and bathroom. Today, I’m very hands-on. I even do the finishing touches to their houses.”
Chanel’s 10 Amélie Madou residences and studio houses were built over the course of six years, from 2010 to 2015. The company now has ambitious plans to create new housing units that will be finished in 2020. Called 1612 Kentfields, the project comprises eight houses of 3,500 square meters and two secondary buildings of 1,000 square meters each. The finishing touches will not be complete until 2022.
Chanel will build four new houses in 2019. Credit: Courtesy of Chanel
Chanel’s new renovations mark a new milestone for the British-based architect. Since her first work for the company, Cook has often seen her work drift beyond her studio building footprint. In 2012, she designed a pavilion for Chanel’s first ever men’s fashion week , the 420 square meter pavilion formerly known as the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern.
Alongside these notable commissions, Cook has received a number of custom commissions for Chanel’s head offices in Paris, including “Chanel House, Traversetique II,” an extension for the brand’s annual Grand Palais exhibition.
Chanel’s production chain
Each Chanel project plays into the brand’s legacy. In the case of Cook’s latest building, there is a strong link to Chanel founder Gabrielle Chanel. A special dream space was created in the former butcher’s shop, which became one of the company’s creative hubs and was used as the setting for its perfume Chanel No. 5.
“Chanel is full of eccentricity and seems to continue to surprise us all,” Cook said. “The brand has a strong sense of humor and considers itself to be a transcultural company. The dreams, aspirations and stories shared by its people give it an intimacy that even the best thinking clients cannot create.”
Cheryl Furby, Chanel’s global artistic director of new brands, believes the company’s well-documented wealth has allowed it to break new ground with its use of physical real estate.
“Chanel has never had constraints on its project locations,” Furby said. “Its ability to pay for exceptional spaces is likely one of the reasons we have so many customers looking to buy a home belonging to someone at Chanel.”
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