There should be no complaints from visitors to fashion designer Derek Lam’s boutique in New York’s SoHo that they cannot see all the wares on display. Despite the fact that separate enclosures house different collections, the entire store is completely transparent from front to back. It is located on a highly fashionable block of Crosby Street, just a stone’s throw from SANAA’s other high-profile Manhattan project, the New Museum of Contemporary Art. The 2,800-square-foot boutique resides in a 19th-century manufacturing building that SANAA has scrubbed of its former identity. After painting the original brick walls white, the architects used thick floor-to-ceiling acrylic panels to establish four sculptural bubbles, the most convoluted of which is a peanut-shaped pod housing shoes and handbags.
Cut-out doorways allow for easy circulation among these spaces, but because the curving acrylic becomes almost invisible inside, it is easy to forget that the barriers exist; in fact, some visitors have walked face-first into the transparent panels. The employees now warn anyone entering the store to pay close attention to where they’re going. Inside the bubbles, minimalist racks and spotlights formed from slender metal tubing rise straight out of concrete floors, and separate linear slot diffusers keep each of the spaces at a comfortable temperature. A few areas of the store are also equipped with metallic gold curtains on tracks, which can be drawn to darken the space or to create privacy for fittings.
This article is taken out of the following magazine:
Materials and Finishes (also available as English Edition 4/2009)