The inherent intimacy of the existing retail space at 994 Madison Avenue means that the experience of LJ Cross store is completely immersive. The space is completely coated in material; the walls of sculpted white corian and the ceiling and floor in Belgian Oak. When looking through the storefront glass, the entire store is intended to feel like a display in and of itself. Instead of being made of the typical ‘four walls’ that surround most retail space, LJ Cross is wrapped in a continuous ribbon of Corian that begins and ends at the storefront. This curved ribbon hovers between the wood floor and ceiling, acting as both sculpture and retail display.
To maintain the sense of immersion, the displays themselves are meant to feel as if they are a part of the sculpture of the space. Instead of individual cases or racks that simply occupy the retail space as objects, the LJ Cross displays are carved from the Corian wall surfaces. On one side, the wall surface is carved outward, creating floating jewelry display cases. On the other side, the wall surface is carved inward creating shelving and display for the clothing and accessory portions of the LJ Cross line. Between the two, the continuous wall surface takes on the character of something that has been embossed… on one side this embossing adds to the surface, on the other side, the embossing erodes the surface. This positive/negative or figure/ground relationship brings a kind of symmetry and elegance to the ribbon of wall surface, with the retail shopper experiencing the immersive space in between.
The carving in the walls was composed by an overlapping of cruciform shapes, with the leftover spaces between these shapes becoming the display niches. The lighting that is composed in these display niches reinforces this composition of figure and ground. The light fills the cuts and renders their edges in silhouette, enhancing the intentionally graphic feel of the carvings. The lighting within the displays is layered; one that is a continuous ambient layer that fills these carved volumes with light, and another that is very specific accent light that brings hierarchy to the items floating in these volumes.
A central spine of adjustable LED pinhole downlights assures that the outer surfaces of the corian ribbon are illuminated, maintaining a sense of continuity in relation to the floating presence of the carved display lighting. When seen from the exterior, the store’s lighting renders the space like a retail diorama of sorts; with the continuous corian ribbon wrapping the view and the glowing carvings punctuating it.