We began our concept design with a reverence for the original architectural intents of the Collection stores. That architecture expressed a luxury that was at once discreet and sensual. Calvin Klein has developed a serene and prismatic vocabulary of signature elements: niches, case goods, and lighting that are immediately identifiable with the brand. It was our intent to “evolve” this iconic language into a new paradigm. We proposed a twofold design strategy: firstly we proposed a new spatial element in the form of a “salon” that acts as both bridge and filter between the programmatic elements of the store. Secondly, we proposed the merging of many of the original “details” and elements into a series of “regulating lines” that are at once iconic and flexible.
A salon is defined as a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation and display. The salon was an Italian invention of the 16th century which flourished in France throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, often galvanized by the presence of a beautiful and educated patron. Our design embeds this concept at the store’s center. It allows us to create a curated space where elements of the entire collection can exist in a more intimate environment. Architecturally the Salon takes the form of a series of blackened steel ribs that repeat at different dimensions and intervals through the center of the store. The interior is populated with an almost residentially scaled series of scrims, fixtures and furniture shapes that invite close inspection of the items displayed. This salon also creates a semi-permeable filter separating the men’s and women’s collections as well as the accessories.
We have also tried to carefully evolve some of the new elements that seem to be working successfully in the current store designs. We were particularly interested in developing the idea of a monolithic lit plane at the back of the store as a device to animate what is usually only conceived of as a mere terminus. This back band of light has a magnetic effect in terms of pedestrian traffic, expcially in a typically over-crowded visual retail environment. To mediate this back band of light, we have used the salon concept to frame, filter, and highlight the lit back plane. The salon, then, is at once a sophisticated social and sales space as well as a visual filtering device providing a nuanced and compelling view into the store. As a supporting feature to this idea, we developed a more opaque storefront system that focuses visual activity more in the central steel band. We put forward marble as a classical counterpoint to the edgier, more contemporary scrim / frame structure of the interior. The lighting scheme, as a series of regulating lines, supports the salon filter scheme developed above. These lines also serve to help unclutter what tends to be a very compicated visual at the typical store ceiling. Finally, we have extended the lines down into the horizontal plane in order to break the typical barrier between horizontal ond vertical space which has the ultimate effect of creating a new kind of merchandising niche experience.