“One time”, recalled Alexandre Mille, commercial director of Richard Mille and son of the ultra-premium brand’s eponymous founder, “I was in Vegas and went into a very tiny pawn shop, and there was a door. When you opened the door, there was a huge, massive restaurant inside. I was always fascinated by that; you see something, but there’s actually way more behind it.”
This speakeasy-like vibe was one of the inspirations behind the spanking new Richard Mille store at 1 St. Martin’s Drive, tucked away in a nook located in close proximity to Orchard Road. Spanning some 700 sqm, the new boutique took three years to complete (partly due to interruptions arising from Covid).
Several key personnel from Richard Mille, including Alexandre and his elder sister Amanda — the company’s brand and partnerships director — were in town for the store’s official opening in early October. At a media preview, the siblings sat down with Richard Mille creative and development director Cecile Guenat, and Richard Mille Asia executive director Bryan Tan to share stories behind the development of the new space.
Visitors first enter a retail area decked out with display cases and lounge chairs. But that’s where Richard Mille St Martin’s resemblance to a traditional boutique ends. Here, the retail zone makes up only one-sixth or so of its total space. Instead, there are 11 dedicated spaces, which loosely flow into one another. These include a living room-like hub with a library, a bar, a dining and kitchen area, a sports bar featuring large screens and memorabilia signed by Richard Mille sports ambassadors, a crafting space, and an outdoor space inspired by a Moroccan riad. There is also a secret hidden library, accessible only by password.
These elegant spaces, each specially designed and featuring bespoke furnishings, were conceptualised and realised by some 30 specialists, including designers and artisans. The boutique is the first of its kind in the world for Richard Mille. While it might serve as inspiration for future similar concepts around the world for the brand, its head honchos assert that Richard Mille St Martin was created for Singapore and will remain unique.
Alexandre elaborated, “We wanted to bring people into the brand and what we represent — our watches, our values, what people experience at our events. It was also important for it to feel very homey, like a Richard Mille house. It was not about having different spaces that nobody would use. We wanted something that people would be able to use and enjoy.”
There is only one potential problem: After stepping into this rarefied — yet relaxed — world, you might not want to leave. With a laugh, Alexandre recalled the first time he visited the store. “After two hours, (Bryan) said, ‘Okay, bro, let’s go’, but I didn’t want to leave. I was feeling so good here. I feel it would be the same for our customers.”