Janson Goldstein combines classical elegance with modern design for Emporio Armani Soho.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
When New York-based Janson Goldstein faced the task of designing the Emporio Armani Soho store, the architects naturally pondered the typical Emporio customer—a young, design-savvy individual. But in coming up with a concept that would reflect this customer type, the architects decided that there was no specific formula. "A doesn't equal B. It's not that simple," says Janson Goldstein principal Mark Janson.
They did decide, however, to forego the minimalist white box in favor of a fresher approach to the modern interior. They completely gutted the 3,100-sq.-ft. retail space and applied a palette of gray tones, ranging from elegant, honed "Virginia Mist" granite for the floors to warm, gray-blue Knoll fabrics for upholstery.
Sandblasted concrete block—which complemented the color palette, while contrasting with the luxurious floor—was used for most of the walls. "The idea of using an everyday material such as concrete block in an expensive clothing environment was a fresh idea that would appeal to a younger generation," says Janson. Storage and display units were also pared down to basic and simple structures, consisting of cast-plaster tables and stainless-steel, rolling drawer units that park underneath the tables.
Another of the firm's goals, per the request of the Giorgio Armani corporation, was to make the store reflect its Soho site. Janson Goldstein's response was to take an element unique to Soho's architecture—in this case, cast-iron columns—and update it with a contemporary twist. The architects restored the space's original columns and then concealed them with backlit, sanded acrylic to reveal the classical architecture with a "ghost effect," a feature that masterfully reflects the classically modern Emporio brand.