For the second New York City location of Frédéric Malle’s Editions de Parfums, Steven Holl Architects has brought a well-crafted sensibility to the tiny, jewel box of space, occupying the ground floor of a three-story brick building in Greenwich Village.
The space, while contemporary in feel, subtly hints to the historic roots of the neighborhood. Since the luxury perfume house launched in 2000, collaborations with a dozen expert perfumers have yielded a series of coveted fragrances (black and white headshots of each perfumer stretch across one wall of the shop). This style of creative exchange, initiated by Malle, informed the design process as well.
The 400-square-foot boutique, composed of bold sculptural forms, is divided into three parts: the storefront, a back office, and a garden. The use of geometry plays out both in the detail and in spatial configuration: a large glass window in the shape of a fractured circle, reminiscent of a cubist painting, allows onlookers to peer inside. The interior is outfitted with black walnut arced shelves on which candles and glass bottles of perfume are arrayed. Recycled foamed aluminum walls and ceiling and blue wool carpet add texture to the front room and serve as a gentle counterpart to the sleek wood elements. In the back, two Holl-designed curved benches frame the schist stone-paved garden. Water trickles from a fountain made of cast brass.