Montblanc launches hotel-like flagship in Paris – WWD
Serious pen collectors can now lay down six figures in the most lavish setting imaginable, with sweeping views of the Arc de Triomphe over flower boxes blooming with picture-perfect roses.
A corner VIP suite is just one of the standout amenities at Montblanc’s new hotel-like flagship boutique at 152 avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The 2,400 square foot corner unit, which has housed a Montblanc boutique for 20 years, has just reopened after a major renovation and expansion to accommodate a new concept that merges retail with hospitality.
“We really wanted to deepen our retail experience by drawing inspiration from how luxury boutique hotels today offer such an immersive and multi-faceted universe,” Montblanc chief executive Nicolas Baretzki explained in an interview, describing a place “where customers can escape from everyday life, disconnect, relax.
“When you have a great stay at your favorite boutique hotel, you never want to leave,” he added, recalling the words of a famous Eagles ditty. “We hope our customers feel the same about their visit.”
Visitors to the Montblanc 4810 suite, the number representing the elevation in meters of Europe’s famous snow-capped mountain, descend on a mosaic threshold like those found in palaces or the famous covered passages of Paris, and are invited to “check in” at a retro, wooden reception desk.
There, vendors can direct visitors to what they might be looking for, or invite them to explore the 116-year-old German luxury brand, starting with its iconic resin writing instruments, through to watches, leather goods and other personal accessories.
Products are sparsely traded throughout the airy ground floor, but there’s plenty to discover, from the “ink bar”, where visitors can test out a range of quirky nibs and colors with fountain pens the size from a cigar, to a wall niche displaying the latest Montblanc collector’s item: a hand-carved ebony pen in the shape of a walking stick from its Writers edition dedicated to the Grimm brothers, priced at 40,300 euros.
High-rollers could be escorted directly upstairs to the VIP lounges via an elevator dressed in gleaming black, a nod to his iconic Meisterstück pen, and illuminated with calligraphic animations. Or they can wander the pale hardwood floors, the same found in Montblanc’s historic workshops in Hamburg, and discover everything from sporty shoulder bags and business briefcases to sunglasses, belts and wallets. .
Baretzki said the boutique, which has an Art Deco feel, is unique and nods to other units.
“While there were styling cues reminiscent of our boutiques, this concept was really our opportunity to showcase Montblanc as it is today with a reimagined aesthetic incorporating our archives and heritage,” he said. said, noting that some of the fixtures are repurposed originals, such as the check-in counter that once stood in a Montblanc boutique in the 1950s. “This was never going to be a conventional retail experience, but a place to surprise and discovery.”
Smartwatches, headphones and other personal tech items – the latest extension of the Montblanc brand – are on display in a pop-up location next door.
The main flagship showcases the impact of creative director Marco Tomasetta, a seasoned leather goods designer recruited last year to accelerate its transformation into a “luxury professional lifestyle house” and to design overarching brand themes for the products, compared to what was previously a more siled, categorical approach.
Montblanc’s famous pen nibs can be found embedded in the iron safety grid, displayed above the ink bar and recurring as zipper pulls in the leather goods department.
“Since I started, my goal has been to create general cross-cutting themes to connect products in a more intentional and purposeful way,” Tomasetta said. “We continued to evolve our offering, and now the way (customers) experience the brand in a new retail environment.”
The decor resembles the lobby of a boutique hotel with plush armchairs, background music, and staff ready to offer refreshments.
A lounge dedicated to writing instruments and watches is set up like a cocktail bar, serving watches instead of martinis, while the penultimate room features large leather goods on shelves and small leather goods in marble drawers. There’s enough room here to test rolling suitcases.
A small concierge, located near the entrance, allows customers to have their accessories personalized or to receive advice on writing techniques.
The VIP suite includes a large living room with a library, a large straw marquetry coffee table and comfortable seats. A second room, with walls lined with safes, includes consultation tables ideal for inspecting rare pens, some of which come from the Montblanc Haus in Hamburg, an immersive brand emporium that mixes elements of a museum, an art gallery, hall of fame and school offering calligraphy courses.
“There is definitely a connectivity between Montblanc Haus, the ultimate homage to our history and trajectory, and the new boutique, as so much of what we do is inspired by the archives housed at Montblanc Haus,” said Baretzki, noting that special events and calligraphy classes will also be a feature of the Champs-Élysées flagship. “Beyond the products, our customers really appreciate these experiences.”
According to Tomasetta, since the store is located on a famous street teeming with tourists from all over the world, “we want to offer everyone who enters our space an experience that matches their interests and level of brand familiarity in a warm and welcoming.” boutique hotel atmosphere.
“Our existing customers know exactly what they want from the experience and have specific requirements that we can adapt so they can continue to learn and discover. For anyone new to Montblanc or rediscovering it with fresh eyes , we want it to be inviting and exciting, so they leave inspired,” he explained.
As a creative globetrotter, Tomasetta said he enjoys “staying in places that offer more than the basic necessities and feel like home. I love places that give you the feeling of a home away from home.
Moreover, among his favorite hotels are the Château Marmont in Los Angeles, the Aman in Venice, Il Pellicano in Tuscany in Italy, Le Bristol in Paris and the Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg.
Montblanc also operates independent boutiques in Paris on rue de Rennes and boulevard des Capucines, as well as in-store boutiques at Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Bon Marché.