Contractor: MG & Company
New York fashion designer Derek Lam’s ﬁrst standalone boutique in Soho makes a major architectural statement with minimal means. Located on the ground ﬂoor of a 19th-century manufacturing building, the 2,800-square-foot space, designed by Tokyo-based ﬁrm SANAA, uses the ﬁrm’s trademark transparency to create a sinuous backdrop for Lam’s collections. The central element is a series of transparent acrylic walls that divide the retail space into zones for different collections, shoes, a selling ﬂoor, and ﬁtting room. The freestanding panels are set against a background of white-painted brick walls; a one-pour concrete ﬂoor; SANAA-designed wood and aluminum furniture; large, leaning mirrors; and dramatic, full-height curtains mounted on tracks.
Though the walls look simple, they were anything but to construct. “The acrylic walls began as six-foot-wide panels that are individually curved on molds based on our architectural drawings,” principal architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa told AN in an email. Four panels are then bonded together to make a 24-foot-long base unit, although some sections are shorter. “The panels themselves change shape with minor temperature ﬂuctuations,” the architects added. “To make matters worse, the shapes do not make use of common radii. Amazingly, the ﬁnal shape is very close to the original design.” Connected by small clips at the top and bottom of each joint, the walls produce softly luminous forms that reflect and refract both Lam’s couture and the city beyond.