La Maison Unique

New York, USA

The studio was invited by Longchamp to design their new global flagship store, a key to repositioning the brand and opening new markets. Located in SoHo, New York, the building was an unconventional choice, as the majority of the floor area is on the first floor, with a very small ground floor street frontage.

This unusual configuration of space allowed the design team to come up with a design solution that turns this into an advantage; a three storey void cut through the building bringing daylight down and people up a landscape formed by a staircase; a major intervention behind an unassuming façade.

La Maison Unique involved extensive structural re-modelling of an old building including the addition of a new third storey, incorporating showroom, offices and roof garden.

Constructed in 1¼” hot-rolled steel and taking six months to build, the landscape stair weighs 55 tonnes and is an installation that divides and converges to form a topography of walkways, landings and steps. The magnetic properties of the landscape stair enable movable lights and display stands to be attached with high-strength magnets. The transparent balustrades are fabricated using aerospace windscreen technology to create a series of individually formed panels that drape with the fluidity of fabric. On the main retail floor, the laminated wood ceiling is sliced open and sections folded downwards, their layers separated further to provide surfaces to display the merchandise.

The project opened in May 2006, and has been awarded an AIA Top Honour and Design Week’s Best Retail Interior.

Project Leader: Tom Chapman-Andrews
Team: Christos Choriatis, Rachel Hain, Jem Hanbury