The Whisky Shop Paris
The Whisky Shop, whose 20 strong chain of shops in the UK is unique in the specialist whisky sector, have opened a store in Paris. The new store takes a prominent position in Paris’s Place de la Madeleine in the heart of the city’s fashion and gourmet quarter. This will be another highly visible and prestigious whisky store, taking to a further level their much admired luxury store in Piccadilly, London.
Paris, next to London, is the biggest luxury shopping destination in the world and France is the biggest market for Scotch whisky in Europe.
Commenting on work undertaken at the store, Gregor Jackson, Partner at GP Studio said: “It is a very old and historic building that has been taken and previously it was a French Parisian silverware shop. It has got an absolutely beautiful staircase in it so there was a lot of stripping back and restoring the heritage of the site to its former glory. What we have done then, in a sympathetic way, is bring in contemporary pieces of furniture into a traditional space.”
Gregor added: “A lot of the design has come from what we did in London and Manchester and was about building from that. The Whisky Shop have always wanted the shop to be an experience for the customer so it has been about the experience, testing, discovery and knowledge, which have been key words within the store.”
GP Studio were the main architects on the project, the main contractors were Portview and the project was managed by Leckenby Associates.
Established in 1975 Portview has evolved from a mainstream construction company to a finely tuned, detail driven, pure fit-out management contractor that realises some of the world’s most creative fit-out briefs for discerning brands.
Simon Campbell, Managing Director at Portview said: “The Whisky Shop opened a store opposite The Ritz about three years ago and at the time they had intentions and were looking for premises. When the opportunity arose in Paris, they reassembled the team that worked on the London project because they had confidence due to the time scales and quality we had previously produced.
“It is an old building and the front has listed protection but with the interior features, the client liked and wanted to retain the look and feel, so there was a lot of bringing the existing back to life and matching it with the new and appropriate to keep the old style.”
Spirits drinking in France is experiencing double digit growth in the premium and super premium category, as consumers make more discerning choices. They want to know more about what they consume and they want to become engaged with brand stories that deliver great drinking experiences. The Whisky Shop in Paris will be more brand centric than perhaps the traditional French Caviste, and will serve and entertain a wide cross section of consumers, for whom this will be a new experience.
Executive Chairman of Glenkeir Whiskies Ltd, Ian Bankier said: “The Whisky Shop’s aim is to provide for premium brands, an innovative marketing platform within world class retail space in top international destinations. Luxury consumer brands of every description need to have a high profile in cities across the world. For reasons of historical accident, spirits brands have been confined to airports – not exactly the ideal environment. As the industry has very successfully upgraded sprits and whisky brands to premium and luxury status, it is a natural step for us to facilitate as we have done.”
Diageo, owners of the largest and strongest Scotch Whisky portfolio in the world, have agreed to take exclusive retail space within The Whisky Shop, Paris. Their wide selection of brands includes Cardhu, J&B, Talisker, and the iconic Johnnie Walker range. The upper salon of the store will assume the identity of a Johnnie Walker House. It will be dedicated to showcasing the Johnnie Walker range and meeting and greeting the brand’s huge following of customers. Diageo have Johnnie Walker Houses in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Seoul, with this being the first to open in Europe.
A spokesperson for Johnnie Walker said: “The Whisky Shop have rightly gained the reputation as best practice retailers of Whisky and we are delighted to be working with them on this project. Their standards of professionalism are world class and they will provide an excellent home for our important portfolio. It makes perfect sense that the very first Johnnie Walker House in Europe should open in The Whisky Shop’s first opening outside of the UK. Paris has needed a facility like this for some time and we are delighted to be at the forefront of this initiative.”
The Whisky Shop will also house The Angel Room, which can be used as an event and tasting space and offers space for brands to host if they are launching a new product.
Gregor added: “Every project is important but it is lovely having the continuity with The Whisky Shop and each time, pushing the design. It is lovely to build up a relationship with a client were we understand them and they understand us. Each time it is a different challenge and opportunity and this one was interesting as a design piece because it was an old building and it was fascinating having Jonnie Walker coming in and designing that space as well as The Whisky Shop space.”
Simon concluded: “Our approach is to engage early so as soon as we can we are in surveying the building and then we start working from the technical survey to make sure that what the client aspires to is practical and feasible, both in intention and reality.
“The Whisky Shop is a very high end client that we value and whenever a client is prepared to come back and invest their trust in us for a critical project, we take that very seriously, so we appreciate their faith in us. It is hugely important because of the nature of the relationship and we want to continue to deliver so that the client will continue the productive way of working together that we have established.”