Armani 5th Avenue by Massimiliano & Doriana
Fuksas Architects

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The Armani 5th Avenue store in New York City, designed by Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas Architects, opened last week.

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The central feature of the 4-storey store is a sculptural steel staircase.

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Photos are courtesy of Fuksas Studio.

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Here's some info from Georgio Armani:

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GIORGIO ARMANI OPENS ARMANI/5th AVENUE IN NEW YORK

On February 18, 2009 Giorgio Armani comes to the most celebrated street in New York. Fifth Avenue has been the focal point of many contemporary and historical events, and has featured in novels such as Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and countless films in which its most famous buildings such as the Empire State Building or the New York Public Library have played a major part. As for the museums, there are so many that the section that fronts Central Park is known as Museum Mile.

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“A really exciting challenge – that is how I would describe our new concept store, Armani/5th Avenue in New York. It is a special project requiring a degree of courage, as it brings together in one space different elements such as Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani side by side with Giorgio Armani. I was determined to send out a clear message of change, interpreting the current trend for mixing genres, juxtaposing items in different price brackets. You could say that this is a provocative move – uniting in the same place and with the same furnishings, without visible boundaries, the various collections that combine to form the entire Armani universe.

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This freedom of expression defines for me the spirit of Fifth Avenue: a prestigious shopping destination, of course, but one that is less exclusive in character than comparable addresses, with a democratic mood which I am certain represents the future. I worked on the creation of this store with Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, whose hugely respected architectural practice is known for bringing a precisely judged sense of glamour to clothing stores. This is the third project we have jointly accomplished, following on from Armani/Chater House in Hong Kong and Armani/Ginza Tower in Tokyo, and significantly all three offer totally distinctive environments, each different from the other, because I contend that identical retail spaces, monolithic and repetitive, belong in the past and cannot match the experience offered by a totally original store which introduces the public to the aesthetic excitement of fine contemporary architecture.“

-    Giorgio Armani

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ARMANI/5th AVENUE

On this avenue, that combines historical significance with an ultra modern, vibrant and pulsating buzz, at the intersection with 56th Street, Armani/5th Avenue is revealed as a neatly defined and light building completely clad in glass - 164 feet long and 45 feet high (50 meters long and 14 meters high). Spread over 4 floors, one of which is the basement, the store covers a total area of 43,000 square feet (4,000 square meters); the retail area covers approximately 30,000 square feet (2800 square meters) of which 5200 (480 square meters) is occupied by the Bar and Restaurant.

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Form and structure
Giorgio Armani has selected the architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas and has actively collaborated with them throughout this building, conceived as a single, fluid space providing uninterrupted intercommunication, brought together by the impact of the vortex of the staircase.

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The heart of the building is, in fact, epitomized by the staircase, a structure in rolled calender steel, made in Italy, and clad in plastic material that highlights its exceptional sculptural presence, an entity that is almost impossible to convey in terms of any normal geometric shape.

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The sense of movement
An interplay of slightly overlapping bands distinguishes the structure of the building and leads to the upper floors, gliding over the vertical surface of the interior.

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Each floor opens out into an ever-changing pattern of curved surfaces that add visual interest to the light putty-colored walls. Whereas the colors are pure and constant – beige for the walls, black for the floors and ceilings, and metal – the shine, the glossy look, the use of different materials, the reflections from the lighting - all suggest movement, subdued atmosphere and color. Special attention has been paid to the lighting, which defines and emphasizes the curvature of the walls and spaces. The use of curves is a constant feature throughout the interior design, and is evident in every aspect of the store, from the display units to the hanging units, from desks to armchairs.

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The internal layout
This fabulous concept store brings together the world of Armani throughout. For signature shopping, there is no better place to start than on the ground floor for Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani accessories as well as the Emporio Armani collection for women. Down in the basement is the realm of those who favor a casual style of dress: Armani Jeans, EA7 – the sports line that includes specialized clothing and equipment, Emporio Armani Underwear and the Swimwear range.

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The further up the building, the more selective and refined the choice of products become. On the first floor, the Cosmetic area beckons, with its ultra sophisticated range of products with Crema Nera and the more sophisticated perfumes, followed by the area dedicated to Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani shoes. From here it is a short hop to Giorgio Armani, Fashion, Classics and Eveningwear, all for women. Following the pathway of the staircase and descending a few steps, the space is dedicated exclusively to the fashion section of the Emporio Armani line for men.

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On the second floor, Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani for men and Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani shoes for men are displayed. This floor also houses Armani/Casa, offering a choice of objets; the space successfully evokes the huge Armani/Casa store in Soho. Nearby there is a small area dedicated to the delights of Armani/Dolci, the first retail area for this collection of delicacies to open in the USA. On both the first and second level, two specific spaces have been conceived and reserved for a private VIP fitting room.

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From the Armani/Restaurant on the top floor, a fabulous view can be enjoyed – through an amber-colored filter – down Fifth Avenue, with Central Park in the background. A line of lighting on the ground leads to the entrance to the restaurant, emphasizing the sensuous curve of the wall. A virtual curtain is raised as you pass through it… the show begins, making the customer the star.

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Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas said: “The building that incorporates Armani/5th Avenue holds a very important place in the history of architecture because its façade is one of the first examples of the “International Style”. When one is dealing with such a cultural milestone, one must always bear in mind that the exterior is totally New York, while the interior should have its own identity. A reflection of the flair and aesthetic values that define the Giorgio Armani style.

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The grand staircase is the focal point, an exciting sculptural feature which connects all the different levels that accommodate the Armani universe range by range. Innovative in both layout and content, Armani/5th Avenue is the first concept store in which all the Armani products are presented in a single space, where the same design has been adopted throughout: the subtle colours and restrained shapes emphasise the value of the product.”

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The Armani/5th Avenue Special Collections
To celebrate the opening of this new concept store, Giorgio Armani has created a range of special accessories – a capsule collection that includes pieces from both Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani, only available for sale in the 5th Avenue store. Notice the logo – all the Giorgio Armani items feature a black label inscribed “Armani/5th Avenue - Limited Edition.” Meanwhile the Emporio Armani items have the following inscription: “Armani/5th Avenue – Exclusive Edition.”

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The Giorgio Armani collections will include a jacket in blue python skin, a crew neck cashmere pullover, jeans, eyewear with a metal tag, accessories in crocodile nappa, and watches. The Emporio Armani collections present an ultra urban and international look that reflects the vibrant energy so typical of Manhattan.

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  • http://www.planet3studios.com kanwal

    simply awesome….clear design and well executed!

  • andy

    so, according to these photos, basically it’s a stairway designed by DFA.

  • scruces

    yeah i love fucksus

  • so

    hum…is it the modeling skills that make this structure wobble back and forth or the poor execution of the stair. it somehow looks wannabe stylish but with all the buckles it reminds me more of a smashed potato shelf…thanks fucks-us

  • joydivision

    love the stairway but where’s the shopping experience?!

  • Jun

    It’s like a level-uped Baroque staircase, and amazing.

  • http://artistruth will

    That’s “subtle shapes”? Jesus. I mean, it’s goddamned beautiful, but is the entire store a psychadelic-organic Escher maze staircase, or are there clothes, or…?

  • Mowgli

    GENIUS!

  • Gabs

    OMG I JUST LOVE THE STAIRS!!

  • BRian

    Dude,
    Va bene! Bellissimo!

    Very nice work!

    Brian

  • Hassan

    is very different….¡¡¡ I love armani’s proyects… (Ginza… is very glam)
    Is Mexico City a new point for Armani? (remember Antara Polanco)…
    I hope … be so close to my house

    … bye

  • gillesr

    I agree with Andy, it´s basically a staircase, and, sad enough, it´s indeed basically a very wobbly one. It looks as if they´ve missed and executed a first, rough3d model…

  • münte

    staircase to heaven. awesome

  • siksee

    It looks quite fluid, the free flowing bands and strips …
    but the staircase ends quite abruptly whereas it looks quite a deliberate action to make it look fluid, not quite coherent with the rest of the interiors

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/dariusz69 Dariusz

    A tad few too many photos, but then again photos will never provide as much as the experience. But from the photos, I’d like to see that first hand. :) Great work!

  • haloloop

    Ok. Fucksus has been lucky becasue it’s not a competition where Zaha parteciopated too. Just a direct commission. Fucky! Be aware! Zazzà is coming!!! God save our souls!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (swallowed by a Nessy-like stairmonster…).

  • paul

    Have to agree – nice stairs but I tend to go to a shop to buy clothes, not for a heightened experience of changing levels.

  • yimyim

    finally a stairway you can get lost in – just what visitors trying to find their way in a new building always wanted……:P
    -lovely and sculptural

  • Georig

    I like the fact it’s not necessarily absolutely ‘perfect’ in it’s fluidity. Limitations of materials are interesting.

    And at least it’s been built, rather than yet another ‘mathematically tronsformigifieded xyz render’!

  • batman

    its no lesnikowski

  • guerilla

    It seems like a lot of effort for little return, unlike the staircase at the Longchamp store by Heatherwick.

  • Matt

    True guerilla, it does seem like a lot of effort for little return. Much like purchasing an item from this brand. And if you are to purchase an item from this store, make sure to enjoy the staircase because that’s where your 1600% markup has gone.

  • dc

    I like these stairs, but this is the second posting on Dezeen in a week of what seems to be an interesting retail project but with photos only of the stairs. What about the rest of the building? Hopefully Fuksas Studio is submitting photos of the rest of the project.

  • Indi

    Straining at a gnat anyone? It’s retail for god’s sake, and will be refitted in 5 or 10 years’ time. Baroque staircases had a programme

  • vivek

    I like the sculptural sensibility of the staircase.All the focus seems to be directed only to the stairs.
    It is unclear how the envelope of the space or the roof profile is relating to this sculptural element.From the photograqphs I see the facade glazing and the columns are quite convemtional ….thats sad.
    There isnt a holistic sculptural feel or drama in the space.

  • togon

    wow, staircase is reeealy furious.

  • d

    although (i am sure) beautifully engineered and detailed it does seem pretty lame to (potentially) ignore the programme, functions, contents and the spaces where the contents are displayed so you can compete with zaha and get the prize for worlds most fluid (read ‘expensive’) staircase. it does look fairly astonishing, its however debatable whether its great retail architecture when the product is completely ignored and if you take the lift you might have well just gone to a gap store

  • Tue

    Zaha eat your heart out…hahaha!

  • Charlene

    It would be great if the staircase itself IS the shop instead of only being a circulation pathway. the design could be better if there are some interactions between the staircase and the key focus–Armani products.

  • haloloop

    It seems like a kind of home made italian fettuccini, on the other hand Zaha is using Pasta-matic yo make her noodles (a bit more international than fettuccini). Now we all know that home made pasta is quite better than pasta-matic stuff even though it cannot reach the great distribution. It seems like a compliment for Mr. Fucksus but it wasn’t meant to be :( … Oh I’m straving… It’s lunch time. I will wait for my maccheroni plate (any archistar is ready?).

  • i man

    dezeen,could you provide a few construction pictures which will eleborate more the construction process of this staircase..this fluidity form can easily be generated with a 3d software,but the actual construction process is something that every people want to know..

  • http://designvagabond.blogspot.com { kattyface }

    perhaps this is one of those architectural pieces that i need to experience in person… because the photos make me feel like it is a swirly, streamlined intestinal tract!

    :O

  • LeMulve

    I went to the store a few days ago, and I must say it is an interesting experience, but all in all I was fairly unimpressed. The detailing is really horrible, walking up the stairs, you can see all of the extra caulking, and left over concrete through the steps, and the swirling railing is not nearly as smooth as the photos suggest. The store is less than a month old, and there are already unsightly chips, and scrapes in the drywall swirl. This is still a nice project conceptually, but really cheaply constructed, and poorly detailed when it comes to its most important part.

  • behnaz

    i cant see the shopping theme!

  • http://ninagonzalez.mutiply.com Nina

    Amazing.
    Although, I think I’d feel disconcerted going through that stairwell.

  • 程晨

    Very interesting design, good design works like this if we can send it to us through the mail all the better, huh, huh!

  • http://www.andrewjbutler.com Andrew

    was in NY a couple of months back not long after this opened – it looks cool from outside but when you get into the space and onto the actual staircase the detailing on it is shocking. drip marks from paint, un even concrete and bits that are chipping away, and when your on one section uner the other it hasnt been finsihed properly so you can still see the red metal of the staircase tread and risers. Really quite dissapointing!

  • tommy

    fucksas was alright in my books, but ever since he’s been doing these blobs and zaha immitations, i think i’ll pass up on him

  • Patrick

    I think Armani should give a little more consideration on attracting the attention of the clients on their products. Products are put in left over positions and secondary spaces, very similar to what can be observed in Hermès rive gauche store. Sad.
    I understand the intention. Let's draw the attention on the brand…however I think it is doing more harm to the brand than good, because the old clients don't understand why their products (thus themselves) are being put on a secondary level and potentially new clients won't even see them.
    I believe that this happens very often when brands turn to "star-architects", because the latter build an envelope without ever studying its future contents, because it's simply too expensive for an architect to pay any of his staff for studying the brand's offer of products.
    The contents of the envelope is not just a program ("store"), but a complexely marketed sequence of products.
    Please be reminded: The main purpose of a store is SELLING, because without SELLING there's no INCOME and without INCOME there's no STORE.

    But hey, some staicase.