David Chipperfield Architects have designed Valentino's new New York flagship store. Completed August 2014, the store is situated at 693 Fifth Avenue in a Post-Modern building constructed by John Burgee and Philip Johnson, it was formerly the world-renowned Takashimaya Department Store.
The 20,000 sq. ft. flagship marks an important step in the development of Valentino’s worldwide retail network expansion, and it continues the innovative store concept developed by creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, together with David Chipperfield Architects. The store concept combines old and new in order to generate a Palazzo atmosphere, steering away from the pure showroom and promoting a new architectural format in place of a more traditional retail boutique structure.
First, the store features a completely new eight-storey façade that is very slim and transparent. Composed of black steel and aluminum, it is inspired by modernist icons such as Mies Van der Rohe’s Seagram Building. In the lower part of the façade, and connecting the three flagship levels, vertical brass bars lend a graceful elegance to the store front. Integrated into the façade system are a lantern, a clock and the Valentino logo, all seen as essential brass elements of the exterior.
Second, the store features a massive 27-ft high atrium, reminiscent of a terrazzo stage, in which an extremely sculptural stair in palladiana connects all the store levels, taking the customers on an ascending and rising tour and allowing them to observe and experience the entrance space from the upper levels. The monumental atrium is also completely realized in terrazzo and features a display wall, 27-ft wide and 27-ft high, in which 39 single newly designed shelves exhibit products to produce an installation effect.
On the first level is a completely new accessories concept, with terrazzo perimeter walls on which brass and oak shelves are attached for product display. In addition, a new family of display furniture employing a central free-standing timbered structure is highlighted, together with long marble volumes that act as both plinths and furniture.
The traditional women’s store concept is found on the second level: an enfilade of rooms, each with different architectural characteristics, not only separates the different types of merchandise, but also offers distinct atmospheres generated by a custom palette of colors, textures and lights. The architecture is designed to complement the pieces on display, making use of a range of discreetly opulent materials: grey Venetian terrazzo with carrara chippings, timber, marble, leather, carpet and carbon fiber, to focus attention on the collections and also evoke a sense of intimacy.
On the third level is the new men’s store concept, featuring terrazzo walls and palladiana floors. The collection is displayed on oak shelving and hanging elements, which are supported by polished brass fixtures around the perimeter. These features incorporate LED lighting, allowing each shelf or display to be individually and almost invisibly illuminated. The men’s store concept unifies the spaces into a consistent experience through the tectonic floor surfaces of terrazzo and palladiana.
A series of pure volumes, such as the marble blocks and free-standing marble columns, complete the architecture in a similar way to the ground level, where the new accessories concept is applied. The general overhead lighting strategy of the Fifth Avenue flagship reflects the variety of finishes and spaces, combining concealed ambient lighting and clear white product lights on the periphery of the rooms, with warm lighting or decorative chandeliers in the center.
Valentino New York, 693 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10022
View David Chipperfield Architects on the Domus Nova Architecture Guide