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Artist Es Devlin wanted guests to engage in all their senses when she designed “Five Echoes,” the public installation commissioned by Chanel to honor the 100th anniversary of the house’s iconic No. 5 fragrance. More than 2,000 fragrant trees, grasses and other plants were sourced to create a forest-like environment at Jungle Plaza in Miami’s Design District, with a walkable labyrinth 100 feet in diameter — its shape inspired by a French abbey from Coco Chanel’s childhood — rising from its center.
While Devlin sought myriad ways to honor the codes of Chanel in the experience, sustainability was also top of mind, said the British-born artist and stage designer. “We began with a conversation about how a temporary artwork can be made without polluting the planet,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “Sadly, many of them end up in landfills. Once I saw this huge, beautiful space, my immediate thought was to turn it into a temporary forest, and then when all is said and done, replant that forest here in Miami.”
All trees and plants will be donated to public parks in Miami-Dade County, while Devlin adopted the same approach with the labyrinth. Crafted with stretched fabric and timber, the installation’s materials will be donated to local theater companies once the public event concludes Dec. 21. (More information about visiting the space can be found here.)
To celebrate the installation’s opening, Chanel hosted a splashy dinner in Jungle Plaza on Friday evening, Dec. 3, with guests who included Pharrell and Helen Williams, Joe Jonas, Venus Williams, Rebecca Dayan, Dylan Penn, Maluma and the Haim sisters.
For the L.A.-based rock trio, the night’s event was a first for them with both Chanel and Art Basel Miami Beach, and they were quick to agree that they’re big fans of Devlin’s work. “We’ve followed her for a long time,” Danielle Haim said. “The pieces she’s done for rock shows, for U2 or Adele, are incredible. We’ve always been in awe and so inspired by her.”
Like other guests, the three sisters wore head-to-toe Chanel. They also appear in one of the year’s hottest films, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza. Did they have any idea that the movie ultimately would generate so much buzz during production? “It’s not surprising because I was so in love with the script the first time I read it,” Alana Haim told THR. “Doing something you’re passionate about, and you really believe in was important to all of us, and we really believe in Paul. It was such an amazing experience; I wish I could go back and do it again 40 million times.”
Maluma, who’s starring in Marry Me with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson (expected to release Feb. 11, 2022), likewise embraced the spirit of the evening, pairing a pink-and-white knit cardigan from Chanel’s Spring 2021 collection with white sequined trousers and a group of pearl necklaces. “With my [styling] team, we always think ahead and want to change the game,” he said of his look. “I’m not afraid of trying different things; I love pink, and I love pearls, that’s why I’m wearing this. I like to create trends, not follow them.”
Guests toured the labyrinth and surrounding forest before a seated dinner that included citrus-poached lobster and candy squash risotto, while desserts of basil sorbet and chocolate-chai mousse were being served, Devlin appeared at the center of the labyrinth to introduce the night’s surprise musical guest: Rosalia.
The Barcelona-born singer and songwriter, who won a Grammy in 2020 for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album, shared her own Chanel memories in the middle of a four-song set. “My grandmother, Lucretia, she was obsessed with this perfume,” she told the crowd. “She used to wear it all the time, and let’s be honest, it wasn’t a little. Every time she came to visit us, we all knew Lucretia was there before we saw her because [the scent of Chanel] was all over the house.”
This final night of Art Basel Miami Beach ultimately capped a week of events hosted by the legendary French label, starting with a drone show Wednesday evening, Dec. 1, at Faena Beach. Also designed to celebrate the Chanel No. 5 anniversary, the light show at that event included more than 500 drones creating a rendering of the No. 5 bottle that stretched more than 600 feet in the night sky.
On Thursday, Dec. 2, the brand opened its first boutique in the Miami Design District, with architect and interior designer Peter Marino present to sign copies of his just-released book, The Architecture of Chanel (Phaidon Press, $125), which chronicles his many collaborations with the house. “We’ve done more than 400 boutiques together, but they’ve also given me 12 architectural commissions, and that to me is meaningful,” Marino explained to THR. “Twelve buildings for a brand with the same architect just doesn’t happen, and I wanted to record it.”
How did he approach the look of the Design District boutique? “Chanel waited to be the last brand in the neighborhood, so I created a white cube, the same height and width on all sides, and put all the drama on the inside,” he said. “The design is the cleanest and the simplest of everything we see here, and it’s the one people will relate to the most.” (Among Marino’s upcoming projects is the redesign of Chanel’s Rodeo Drive boutique, expected for completion in 2022.)
From a white cube to a verdant forest, the messages communicated by the brand via art and design throughout the week were wholly intentional. “Every generation that comes along, we have a responsibility to explore our relationship with nature and our surroundings,” Devlin said. “I work with Chanel because I know they take a similar view. I’ve been working with them since 2016, since the first time I met [house perfumer] Olivier Polge, so I’ve experienced that dedication for several years. I feel really supported by them.”
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