When designers and top-tier architects combine forces, design magic follows.
Fondazione Prada, Milan
Located on the outskirts of Milan and set over 11 000sqm is the exhibition space that Miuccia Prada has dedicated to contemporary arts and culture. Rem Koolhaas and his team at OMA converted a century-old, seven-building distillery while designing three new ones to accompany it – one of which is clad in 24ct gold leaf. The juxtaposition of old and new is a treat for design lovers, while inside features a Wes Anderson-designed café and cinema camouflaged by mirrors. The development is home to numerous permanent art installations and exhibitions from the likes of Robert Gober and Louise Bourgeois and also hosts a revolving program of temporary exhibitions, film screenings, dance performances, and lectures.
Thom Browne Flagship Stores, London and Milan
Much like his fashion, Thom Browne is known for his strict rules when it comes to his store interiors. Having worked with longtime friend Flavio Albanese, founder of ASA Studio, on his new London and Milan flagship stores, they created what can only be described as stunning and sober interiors. Drawing inspiration from the office interiors of the late Fifties and early Sixties, the stores feature polished gray marble walls, terrazzo flooring, metal Venetian blinds, and rows of fluorescent tube lighting. The sleek and style-defining spaces mix utility and luxury – just like his sartorial style.
Armani Teatro, Milan
This former Nestlé factory is now home to the Armani headquarters, hosting fashion shows, events, and performances. Self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who is known for his minimal creations, was entrusted to transform the 3 400sqm project, which mostly comprises cement, water, and light. The interior of this brutalist space is an impressive and minimalist display of sliding glass panels and curved partitions. Parts of the vault ceiling have been cut away to reveal the building’s original steel framework, paying homage to Armani’s favorite shades of gray throughout the theater.
A.P.C., Los Angeles
With 63 A.P.C. stores globally, founder and creative director, Jean Touitou, insists that his retail spaces be an extension of his designs: “When a customer desires something in a fashion store, they don’t just desire the clothing, but also the landscapes and fittings around what they want to purchase.” An 18-year partnership with architect Laurent Deroo, who has designed every single A.P.C. store, has ensured this consistency. For Deroo, keeping in line with the label’s theme of simplicity and minimalism is crucial. The uber-cool boutiques feature symmetrical layouts and separate yet identical spaces for women’s and men’s collections. The French architect favors light-toned natural wood, monochromatic colors, and airy spaces to display the clothes clearly and simply. The exquisite storefronts and interiors share an aesthetic similar to the clothing.
Prada Aoyama Store, Tokyo
This striking six-story building, set in the super-cool Aoyama district, is an extruded green glass structure braced by steel mesh, giving it the appearance of honeycomb. The store was built by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron with the intent to “reshape both the concept and function of shopping, pleasure, and communication, to encourage the meshing of consumption and culture.” Its unconventional five- sided shape gives it an otherworldly effect, and houses two retail floors, office space, and an outside area for the public – rare respite from bustling Tokyo.
Louis Vuitton at at Place Vendôme, Paris
Often regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of French artistry, Place Vendôme is now rather fittingly home to Louis Vuitton. With high-end architect Peter Marino at the helm of the four-year restoration, the finished store is a combination of two 18th century Parisian townhouses, previously home to courtiers, nobles, and princesses. Marino has created an interior that fuses museum with indulgent boutique. The contrast of traditional Parisian splendor and slick modern interior is exactly what he intended: “The balance between modern and old is, for me, what Paris is all about.”
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