Palm Springs, CA
Barbara Bestor Architecture
Bestor Architecture’s new outpost for designer Trina Turk, which opened in November, is the ideal homage to midcentury Palm Springs. It is full of light, color, and optimism. Firm founder Barbara Bestor and Turk have collaborated on shops and showrooms around the country and, fortunately, have very similar views on this, the sunny side of modernism.
Another fortunate circumstance is that the existing building is a commercial space designed by Modernist legend Albert Frey. With bones like those, it made sense to use them as inspiration, embracing the “earthy sunny desert ambience,” and making a “light filled space with beautiful fixtures and multiple colors and textures,” said Bestor.
The building formerly contained three separate retail spaces. To unify them into a single clothing and furniture store, Bestor inserted a new connecting corridor with a brass-coated, folded wall that contains internally lit display boxes. Elements such as wooden walls, cubist display racks, mosaic patterned tile floors, a brass hanging ladder wall, and platforms for window displays delineate the various salesrooms.
For color, Bestor used earthy, natural materials and kept floor and wall colors generally light. For texture, variation was again the key, including herringbone parquet floors of reclaimed fir, smooth white background walls, and dressing rooms lined with silk fabrics (women’s) and raw wood (men’s). All of the furniture is vintage, selected by Turk and her husband Jonathan Skow. The lighting is a combination of tracks and special fixtures from noted designers.
“Trina and I are both Silver Lake–based designing women, and we tend to enjoy similar themes, like expanding the modernist vocabulary of social lifestyles,” summed up Bestor.
Christopher Bailey with Callison Barteluce Architects
When it opened in November, luxury fashion retailer Burberry’s redesign of its Chicago location generated divisive reviews in the local press. The five-story flagship on Michigan Avenue was universally acknowledged as an icon in the Magnificent Mile shopping district. But a debate raged as to whether its black chrome and glass facade, textured with references to the brand’s familiar plaid pattern, was garish or graceful.
What was not disputed was the newly constructed building’s bold take on the Burberry brand for that company’s second largest U.S. store. Illuminated at night by LEDs, the chrome exterior gleams with what is perhaps an air of opulence, while the stacked window displays glow invitingly.
Inside, the flagship boasts Burberry’s first digital customization counter in the country. It also features the first in-store Burberry Beauty consultation counter in North America, and will also carry exclusive outerwear and non-apparel. Wifi availability and iPad-toting staff members round out the store’s techie bonafides, while bronze fixtures and timber flooring bring an old-money veneer appropriate for the tony Mile.
The overall effect is nothing if not an engaging and lively update to a luxury brand that might just as easily have replicated the sleepy condition found elsewhere along Chicago’s priciest retail avenue. That it flaunts its glitz a bit seems only fitting. Patrons get unique service beyond the store’s iconic facade.
Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey designed the store, with the help of Callison Barteluce architects in New York.
Bay Area architecture firm Envelope A+D has designed a new addition to Proxy, the temporary shipping container village in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, for urban/outdoor clothing company Aether Apparel. Attached to Proxy’s coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and beer garden, the new store is made up of three 40-foot-long shipping containers stacked one atop the other and supported by steel columns.
“It’s great to have some verticality here,” said Envelope A+D principal Douglas Burnham. All other container stores at Proxy only measure a single story in height.
The architects stripped the first two containers of their internal walls, forming a double-height retail space with a glass mezzanine jutting to the side to make room for display space and views. The third container, which is reserved for inventory storage, is accessible via a custom-designed dry cleaners’ conveyor belt that climbs up all three floors. Workers can load garments from the ground floor and send them up to the top.
The containers were all spray painted different shades of gray, in an effort to put the highlight on the merchandise inside. All are lined with spray-on insulation. Aether had started its presence on the site by tricking out an Airstream trailer, and after its success opted for a larger, more permanent presence with the containers.
Proxy is planning more shipping container retail. The next installation, called PROX_storefront, is a series of nine storefront spaces carved into six shipping containers, which will be located around the corner from Aether.
William O’Brien Jr.
In the last few years, Aesop has been on a design kick. The Australian hair and skincare company has ditched architectural uniformity and created a string of distinct retail spaces that makes eclecticism the design staple of the brand. This same thoughtful approach and ingenuity has informed the new Boston location in the heart of the Back Bay neighborhood. Aesop commissioned architect and MIT professor William O’Brien Jr. to design this 850-square-foot space on Newbury Street.
For this project, which O’Brien calls “Mouldings,” the architect re-imagined “historic architectural elements that are characteristic of Boston tradition” by transforming the ornamental crown moldings found throughout the city into a contemporary and dominant design feature. While riffing off of Boston’s architectural legacy, O’Brien has given the space a modern update. His moldings are made up of strong geometric forms, which “produce an unexpected texture,” he said. The store, outfitted with a mix of new and reclaimed white oak, displays its products on rows of horizontal shelves along the walls and main counter.
Traditional and contemporary design elements mingle in every corner. Even upon entering, Bostonians will experience a space that is at once familiar and unrecognizable: The staircase’s bent wrought-iron bars, so typical of local architecture, support a ski jump of a white oak rail, rocketing shoppers into Aesop’s world of lotions and salves.
Seoul, South Korea
Jaklitsch Gardner Architects
Mark Gardner, a principal at Jaklistch Gardner Architects (JGA), describes the South Korean retailer My Boon as a “highly curated lifestyle brand.” For the company’s new shop in Seoul, JGA designed three distinct zones: one for small items like accessories; a second for ready-to-wear clothing and lifestyle products, including classic modern furniture; and a third housing a juice bar and apothecary. JGA selected a cross-cut, end-grain floor, which it had stained in three different colors: black, natural, and white. Overhead oak-veneer fins unite the space and provide scale, while partially screening the mechanicals from view.
JGA designed blackened steel vitrines to display the accessories, giving the space an architectural element while minimizing clutter. In the clothing area, JGA repurposed industrial concrete planks—used as a cladding material in Japan—to create a display platform that also functions as bleacher seating. In the juice bar, an elegant marble counter with a milk glass cube above, dominates the space. Beauty products and other items are displayed discreetly to one side. Metal bands in a variety of Pantone colors serve as a window screen, providing a subtle sign to the residential street outside that some very special items and experiences can be discovered inside.
Alan G. Brake