Asymptote Architecture completed a new flagship store for Alessi, the famed, family-owned Italian design factory, in a 2,750-square-foot space at 130 Greene Street in the heart of SoHo. It is Alessi s first flagship store in New York City.
Alberto Alessi, the director of the company responsible for transforming Alessi into a trendsetting design company beginning in the 1970s, personally engaged Asymptote principals Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture to develop a new store concept and graphic identity for the Alessi brand in the New York location. “Alessi is a world-recognized brand that set a new standard for design objects in the 1980s with the production of iconic work from critical, postmodern architects ranging from Aldo Rossi to Michael Graves. In subsequent years, a highly unique and respected image for the company evolved from the creativity and insight of Alessandro Mendini and his strong relationship with Alberto Alessi. We set out to expand upon the Alessi brand s terrific legacy and find a way to put it on a new trajectory going forward,” explains Rashid. To engender this new identity for the Alessi brand, Asymptote envisioned the store as a light-saturated, sculptural, dreamlike environment that takes its cue from fluid and dynamic movement, a radical shift away from the postmodern staples of graphic motif, vivid coloration and iconographic and symbolic form.
Asymptote s design approach was to produce a space that reads as infinitely deep and transforming, effectively metamorphosing the narrow, asymmetrical space that was secured as a prime location for the new SoHo flagship store. To create this effect, Asymptote worked with New York-based lighting designers Tillotson Design Associates to accentuate the continuity of the space. This result was achieved by introducing a system of nine successive bands of white light that run vertically up the north wall of the store and continue horizontally across the ceiling within suspended geometrical boxes of varying shapes and sizes. The design also incorporates mirrors on the store s east wall and a long espresso bar, the first in any Alessi store worldwide, at the entrance that visually extends the space inwards and draws attention to the shopping areas. The result is an intimate space that feels open and generous and employs a powerful visual coherence throughout. This sense of order and elegance stems from Asymptote having designed every aspect of the store, including the bent-steel display systems, a co-production between Alessi and Visplay (a subsidiary of Vitra), as well as the wall graphics, packaging design and internal and graphic design elements.
Contributed by ArchiTeam