The building at 19 rue Cambon was acquired by Emmanuel Javal, founder of Le Grand Réservoir. The commercial offer of rue Saint-Honoré was at the time composed of low-quality, global duty free multi-brands, intended mainly for tourists. Despite Chanel’s historic roots in the area, luxury brands were not intended.
The installation of innovative players, such as Colette and the Hotel Costes, attracted a new community to the neighbourhood. Innovation attracts new communities in physical areas and this way contributes to urban renewal. Emmanuel Javal took over this 18th-century building, then occupied by low-end shops and various offices, with the desire to create an identity of the luxury industry. The strategy was initially to rehabilitate the building and unveil its essence. The renovations were carried out with great care and a constant search for meaning while respecting and enhancing the original building.
Secondly, Emmanuel Javal aimed to bring together the best players and guaranty the ecosystem coherence. These players had to be receptive to its aesthetics, its history and its soul, and were not always the highest bidder. The players of a venue participate to telling its story. Carlos Miele and Audemars Piguet were the first to join the adventure. The luxury industry was the precursor of the store-media, identifying the leverage of real estate for the renewal of retail. Stores should not be at the maximum of the generated turnover, but rather at the maximum of their identity, and transmit brand positioning, values and experience, other than just selling products.
Following the success of the experiment, Chanel decided to set up its offices there, then to acquire the whole building all in 2011