Arising at a period of shift from
experiential retail shopping to the technological world of online shopping,
this project is an effort to revive the authenticity, storytelling, and
innovation needed to create a true emotional connection to a luxury fashion
store located in the SoHo district of New York City.
Created for and in collaboration with Fashion Designer Erin
Goodman, the store is designed with the concept of disease and cancer present
in her Spring 2012 collection. The
question became how to present the grotesque notion of disease in an objective
and beautiful manner. Architect Peter
Eisenmann suggests in his essay En Terror
Firma; In Trails of Grotextes;
“Architecture must displace the former ways
of conceptualizing itself,” and “requires a more complex form of the beautiful,
one which contains he ugly, or a rationality that contains the
This meant that to
re-engage the luxury shopper the traditional store must be subverted; and the
experience must embrace the uncertain, the unphysical, and the unnatural, all
within a framework that is familiar and certain.
The solution is an
aggressive architecture that disintegrates
the program and structure of the building much like cancer does to the human
body. The language of the building
relates to deconstructivist ideas of “trace,” “twoness,” “betweeness,” and
“interiority/anteriority” to create a sublime experience for the user. The retail store is in the literal and
metaphysical center of the building, and the user ascends past the studio
workspace to bear witness to the act of making as they proceed up through the
public atrium. These are part of the
active program that demanded to be separated volumes suspended haphazardly in
the internal atrium. The subservient
programs lay in a gridded structure that envelopes and creates an internal void. In the instance of their intersection, the
structure of the outer body is compromised and replaced by that of the disease.
In this way, the two systems are
successfully integrated and reliant
on one another for structural wholeness.
The disease infiltrates from within and demands control,
ultimately killing itself.