Cartier chose the former British Embassy in Madrid, a Brutalist building on Calle Fernando el Santo designed in 1966 by architects W.S. Bryant and Luis Blanco-Soler, to present its new high jewellery collection “Beautés du monde”. The architects of Ventura Estudio and designer Jaime Hayón were commissioned to carry out the refurbishment project.
If the aim of the collection was to pay tribute to the beauty of the world and its diverse expressions, the aim of the space designed was to celebrate the brand’s connection with Spain on the building’s four circular floors: the ground level with the reception and rest area, as well as a restaurant, photography set and audiovisual room; the first level with private rooms for receiving customers and the security area; and the third level with offices and support spaces.
The whole of the second floor in the building was given over to the display of the jewellery collection. Jaime Hayón’s design integrated natural light in a sequence of seven spaces differentiated by colour, each one for a specific part of the collection, with arches providing the narrative thread. Materials in a variety of textures and elements on different scales complemented the lighting. Three special rooms were created as part of the exhibition itinerary to display pieces from Cartier’s historic collection, with a LED screen to generate an animated backdrop.
The central courtyard was transformed into a lounge area with new perimeter latticework connecting all the floors and a “lake” to reflect both the exhibition arches and the Madrid sky on the brand’s logo.
Edt, which organised the entire event, commissioned Empty to do the fit-out works in the building: new air-conditioning, electricity, sound and fire protection installations, adaptation of all the floors, and production of finishes in the reception, restaurant, private rooms and offices, as well as for the exhibition, including 109 showcases for the pieces of jewellery. Empty was also responsible for producing the decorative elements—designed by Hayón Studio in line with the exhibition colours, forms and textures—for nine showcases in the firm’s original shop on Calle Serrano and the new Cartier boutique in Galería Canalejas.