Helmut Lang Parfums
This retail space in Soho marks the launch of a fashion designer’s new fragrance line. The concept is a modern interpretation of old-world apothecaries and traditional European perfumeries. The store provides a laboratory setting that complements and suits commercial aspects of selling perfume.
The program includes a main retail space, a private consultation room, and research and development offices and laboratories. The collaboration between architect and client consisted of hands-on planning sessions in which they exchanged and sketched ideas within the future retail space.
In addition, many full-scale mock-ups were made by the architect and evaluated by the client to thoroughly explore design possibilities. The store’s concept incorporates design elements from past client/architect collaboration for the designer’s flagship store, but is modified to accommodate the featured products.
The narrow entry is emphasised by an LED contemporary art installation, mounted as part of an enameled steel wall that runs the length of the interior. The integration of the installation and steel wall was the result of conversations between the artist, the architect, and designer.
Descending along the wall is a mirror-image double stair, which leads downstairs to research and development offices and laboratories. The installation wall and the double stair create a dramatic vertical slice in the space, and, combined with the continuous scrolling text of the installation, further emphasize the length of the volume and draw the visitor into the main retail space.
The main retail space is defined by three elements, all of which are distilled from the original concept developed for the designer’s flagship store. Visible from the street, a full-height translucent glass wall creates a luminescent backdrop to the product collection, laboratory displays, and product cabinet.
Directly opposite the installation wall is a black monolithic product cabinet, accented by a narrow, glass-lined slot to complement the size and physical qualities of the new products’ glass bottles. Finally, a long, low cash wrap, complete with touch-screen Internet access and white glass countertop, occupies the body of the space, creating the stage for exchange between customer and fragrance consultant.
Behind the translucent glass wall lies an intimate skylight-lit space, where customers can receive private consultations. An amber-glass window in the corner of this room extends the space of the Parfumerie to the outside.