Change is a constant in New York City, and the new Valentino flagship store on 5th Avenue is a bold reminder of that fact. In a city as established as New York, it’s sometimes surprising to see how quickly an icon can change into something different.
Another page turned when the gilded look of the facade of Takashimaya’s department store gave way to the new, equally dramatic, yet entirely modern Valentino vision from David Chipperfield Architects. Here’s how the new store came to be.
Valentino and David Chipperfield Have History
When patriarch Valentino Garavani retired from the Italian fashion house in 2008, creative directors Maria Grazia and Pierpaolo Piccioli began their work bringing the Valentino name forward for yet another generation. More than just fashion was involved in this transformation; architecture would play an important role, and Chipperfield was already on board.
Garavani had worked with Chipperfield before his retirement, at least on a few projects. And although the firm is well-known for the striking Neues Museum renovation in Berlin, Chipperfield has other roots in the fashion industry. He had already worked with Dolce & Gabbana and Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake before opening his own firm in 2006.
Everything’s New From the Bottom Up
Chipperfield created a new face for Valentino’s New York store, both inside and out. Takashimaya’s ornate black and red columns, gold leaf ceiling, and and touches of onyx and marble once held court. But the new look is more serious and modern with gray terrazzo floors and an abundance of concrete and marble.
The former 42-foot ceiling was lowered for Valentino, creating a second floor women’s department with overlook and a fully-enclosed men’s department on the third floor. Even the lighting went in another direction with LEDs providing a brilliant, true-color appearance without any frills. The high-glam Takashimaya store would have been competition for the Valentino line. But the bold yet streamlined Chipperfield transformation creates the perfect stage.
But Only Up So Far
If you notice anything missing from the Valentino storefront renovation, you’re not imagining things. The new facade only travels up so far – eight stories high, to be exact. The building includes a 21-story tower, which was designed in 1993 by John Burgee Architects, and the tower remains as it was.
The old black and red granite columns of the Takashimaya facade are gone. And in their place stands an 8-story curtain wall of glass and steel, with the Valentino name over the door. The first three floors house the Valentino store, and the remaining 3 in the lower section are to be leased out.
While some buildings in major cities might seem timeless, time also marches on. With it comes new ideas and new visions for the future. Where Takashimaya’s vision embodied all that was the 1990s, Chipperfield’s work for Valentino is spot-on for a new modern generation.
Architecture is about more than designing a building. It’s about creating a whole experience that works for its purpose and for the people who use it. Valentino’s new flagship store is cutting-edge design for today, but who knows what the next incarnation of New York City’s famous 5th Avenue will bring.
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