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Six things you didn’t know about Hermès’ petit h exhibition

After a chat with creative director Godefroy de Virieu and scenographer Olivia Lee, we learn that the exhibition’s much more than just upcycling – it is disrupting design principles as we know it

Creative director Godefroy de Virieu (right) and scenographer Olivia Lee (left) at petit h. Photo: Hermès

With a little under two weeks till the close of Hermès petit h in Singapore (Dec 15), the fascinating exhibition still leaves much to be uncovered.

Established by Thierry Hermès’ sixth-generation descendant Pascale Mussard in 2010, petit h’s objective is to give new life to unwanted or forgotten objects and to lead the French maison into a more sustainable future. Hermès main atelier hands petit h excess materials, such as leather and zippers, to be transformed into beautiful, useful objects – think mushroom paperweights, fish-shaped bags and salt shakers.

Titiled "a creation in reverse", the exhibition consists of two spaces — the first is an organic one with lush greenery, and the second is a futuristic sci-fi setup. Click here to read more about the exhibition. 

Her World tapped into the minds behind it all, creative director Godefroy de Virieu and scenographer Olivia Lee (who was also Her World's Young Woman Achiever in 2018) to find out their inspirations, thought processes and dreams for the project. 

Here are a few things to know about the exhibition that's now on at the Hermes store, Liat Towers. And if you have yet to check it out, you really shouldn't miss it. 

1. Petit h is inspired by the country it is exhibiting in

Godefroy: When preparing for a stopover, we first need to be inspired by the country – the culture, the environment and the lifestyle. We want to forge a link between the local designers and the project. Understanding local culture and embedding a sense of geography into petit h is very important for us.

Singapore is a garden city and I know that people are sensitive to the environment. From there, we organised with the designers and scenographers to propose a concept that is linked to the country, in connection with the nature.


2. Olivia Lee was tasked to evoke emotions with her scenography

Photo: Hermès

Godefroy: When I first spoke to Olivia during my visit to Singapore, it was incredible how clear she understood petit h. She spoke about the project even better than me! When you meet people who speak to you about Hermès in general or, in this case, of petit h so well, you are very proud of that. Because that means that the thing that people really understand is the identity of the project. Olivia shared some of her past projects and the things she did that were very aligned to the spirit of what petit h is about, which was very surprising and very intriguing.

Olivia is a storyteller, so she knows very well how to move the people who are looking at what is presented. I think she created an emotion, and that’s what we wanted her to do with petit h.

3. Petit h is going against the grain 

Godefroy: Our creations allow us to use materials freely. These materials all come from different Hermès departments: There is silk, leather, metal, crystal, or jewels, etc. In other words, petit h is a concentrated part of Hermès world. We sail against the stream, starting with materials, then using them with a free spirit to seek inspiration, to create, and to give these free materials meaning. So, it is a completely opposite design principle.


All petit h objects can be purchased, interested parties can enquire at the exhibition. (Each object is unique due to the different materials used.)

The Hermès petit h exhibition is at #01-02A Hermès Liat Towers from Nov 22 to Dec 15. Open to the public from 10.30am to 8pm daily. Admission is free. Click here to find out more.