edited by Craig Kellogg -- Interior Design, 7/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Abandoning the original Aero Studios location in New York, Thomas O'Brien left behind a magical gallery and office interior. Nevertheless, Parisian bag maker Longchamp gutted the space in pursuit of a different brand of magic. Another Thomas—head of Thomas Heatherwick Studio—directed the radical makeover.
Most of the square footage is on the second floor, so Heatherwick carved out a new skylit stairwell: 55 tons of 1/4-inch hot-rolled steel with stripes of stainless steel streaming across steps, over landings, and up the adjacent wall. To assist shoppers in negotiating the terrain, Heatherwick used balustrades of laminated glass warped via aeronautic windscreen technology. Meanwhile, the second floor's plywood ceiling peels down to form display shelves.