200 Fifth Ave.
Architect: IMA with Marimekko
Marimekko, the Finnish fashion and lifestyle brand, gained a following in the U.S. in the ‘60s thanks in part to forward-thinking stores like Design Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts and style icons like Jackie Kennedy. The company has established its own flagship store in the former Toy Center—erected in 1909 as a showroom space for the toy industry—in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan.
The store emulates the design concept of its Helsinki counterpart; both were designed by the Japanese architectural firm IMA in co-operation with Marimekko’s own shop design team. The 3,800-square-foot space was left “rough and honest,” according to Marimekko’s store design manager, Lotta Prinssi, to play up its signature offerings of bright colors and bold patterns. A smooth concrete floor along with the high, naked ceiling and exposed brick walls provide an industrial backdrop for the rainbow of soft goods. Simple, custom displays vary in structure and material, creating and defining spaces within the space. Low tables and freestanding stainless steel shelves on which bolts of textiles are neatly stacked are bordered by display cases of pale wood and white laminate-and-glass pushed against brick walls. Textile banners hang like flower power flags from ceiling, as do groupings of featured fashions, airily suspended from individual wires and s-hooks. Filled with its optimistic burst of colors, the historic space evokes its child-friendly past—a well-organized playroom.