1100 Architect designs a dramatic, inviting showroom for Repertoire in New York.
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
"It's wonderful to be in the heart of Soho," says president Rick Garofalo of Repertoire, which recently unveiled its elegant New York flagship. Although he had secured a ground floor space in Manhattan's bustling downtown retail district, "I wanted something that felt very far away—almost dreamlike, and with a certain nobility." Garofalo turned to 1100 Architect, a firm known for its richly minimal interiors and which had previously collaborated with Repertoire design director Celeste Cooper.
"In thinking about Repertoire's product," recalls David Piscuskas, principal in charge, "it seemed the store design should emphasize the shape of the furniture pieces as well as the richness of color, texture, and tone." And, ultimately, "that it would be possible to do so with a very limited palette." The design team began by carving out "an architectural promenade through the amorphous, free-flowing container"—a lofty, 4,200-sq.-ft. volume articulated by a row of brick-faced columns—by erecting a central, 15-ft.-by-16-ft. office core that divvies the open floorplan into four residentially-scaled zones, each perfectly suited to displaying Repertoire's sleek merchandise in artfully conceived vignettes. "Celeste really maps out what product goes where, which the design of this store really celebrates," says Piscuskas. The centralized placement of the office core also encourages a circuitous circulation path, inviting a sense of anticipation and discovery as customers wander the sales floor. "There's a good balance between openness and enclosure—each view is carefully considered."
To achieve the requested "dreamlike" mood, 1100 Architect wrapped the four walls of the office with a backlit Barrisol (stretched PVC) membrane, creating an evanescent "glowing box" in the center of the space. This luminous treatment is repeated on the ceiling plane, which unfurls in alternating bands of Sheetrock and illuminated Barrisol; recessed channels between accommodate rows of track lighting. In addition to brightening the space, which is short on natural light, "the glowing elements help induce a sense of mystery, allure, and attraction," Piscuskas concludes. "I wanted the space to be something that passersby would want to discover more about. Once they're inside, I'm pretty sure they're going to have a great experience."
Jeff Babienko, Jamie Palazzolo, and Ramon Ocampo assisted on the project.