The Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysées is one of the most recognizable shops in Paris, one of the world’s most impressive boutiques, a unanimously praised example of architectural beauty. The artistry and design behind this store, and many others around the world, can be attributed to Eric Carlson and his firm, Carbondale.
Eric Carlson is a truly unique talent in the realm of luxury design and architecture. Exclusively for LUXOS, he shared his insight on what it means to be an architect of the luxury experience, how economy has become an aesthetic, and what it’s like to have created some of the world’s most iconic designer boutiques.
Carlson’s studio created every part of the iconic Louis Vuitton store, from the outside in, including the inverted spiral design of the store’s interior and the iconic logo-cut metal screens that have now become a hallmark of Vuitton boutiques. In fact, this boutique represents the first time that Vuitton has explored architecture as an expression of their brand identity. In doing so, Carbondale set the 21st century bar for luxury boutique design. For Carlson, an eternal pursuer of excellence, to be given carte blanche by Louis Vuitton was nothing short of liberating.
While the aesthetical limitations of architecture are often driven by the economy, Carlson strongly believes that true, universal beauty can have no restrictions. This is why Carbondale’s Louis Vuitton masterpiece has won such recognition.
“When the concept is carried through to the end, that’s when compromises disappear. More importantly, the finished concept often casts out all preconceived ideas or formulas,” said Carlson. What began as a fascination with shapes, light and spaces has evolved into his greatest passion, and the raison d’être of his architecture firm, Carbondale. From an early age, Carlson has appreciated the way that intangible elements and design could define one’s experience of a space; whether that space is a boutique, a private home, or a skyscraper.
“Above all, at Carbondale, we give shape to a desire.”
Whether displaying a handful of luxury cars, as at Paris’s newest BMW store, or an entire luxury collection as at the Céline store on avenue Montaigne, each project brings Carbondale new challenges that require months of research and experimenting.
Now that Carlson has established Carbondale as a veritable creator of luxury experiences, he plans to expand into the realm of restaurants, hospitals, skyscrapers and even airports. Continually testing his knowledge, finding the finest artisans and materials, and aspiring to create the ultimate best is all in a day’s work for this fascinating design talent. Carlson summarizes the Carbondale approach: “When you’re working with the best, you know you can push the limits that much further.”
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