Going up a size
Monica Geran -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
In the fashion world, slimming down is usually the ideal, but expansion was great news for Cynthia O'Connor. The New York showroom-office of her high-end women's apparel and accessories company was bursting at the seams when she had the luck to find another commercial loft merely blocks away—and quadruple the size. Kiss + Zwigard, the firm that had designed her smaller showroom, signed on for a return engagement.
This time around, says partner Todd Zwigard, the goal was a "space that reflects Cynthia's leadership in the industry." So Zwigard, partner Laszlo Kiss, and project architect George Roushakes communicated that concept through order and openness, intensified by loads of light. Windows are bare. A floor of polished concrete and walls painted in a satin-finish white reinforce the expansiveness, as do clear and translucent materials.
Double-layered frosted-glass panels, affixed to squared stainless-steel posts 4 feet apart, divide the 4,000-square-foot showroom from the elevator lobby. Each panel is scored with clear horizontal strips that align with similar strips on the other panel only at eye level, offering a peek inside.
Furnishings are scant—even in the three semiprivate meeting hubs that cluster at the far end of the space—to ease the flow of traffic during hectic market weeks. At the opposite end of the floor, Kiss + Zwigard equipped two meeting areas with aluminum chairs and Rodolpho Dordoni tables in beechwood and chrome. Here, O'Connor stows her jewelry collection in rolling storage units fronted by acrylic sliding doors.
Other ingenious display fixtures include a painted birch-plywood partition punched with a series of rectangular holes into which the architects inserted blue acrylic sleeves. Open on both ends, the sleeves display a rotating selection of seasonal products, visible from either direction. Two double-sided wheeled racks—each 7 feet wide, 6 feet high, and 2 feet deep—support handbags on acrylic shelves backed by pale blue lacquered plywood. Tote bags hang from the aluminum arms of telescoping tension poles, easily repositioned around the showroom. Think of them as one size fits all.
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