The project seeks to develop and implement a retail concept for new stores. The challenge was to take an established family-run operation – a New York institution - that had evolved on an ad hoc basis and analyze, distill, and transform the parts into a comprehensive design strategy. The concept would then be applied to new locations as well as certain existing ones.
There were several established points of departure from which an approach was developed: the interrelationship of the medical and retail programs, the sales counter as a key point of interface with the customer, and the inclusion of family history and memorabilia. One overlapping element between all of these scenarios was the “fig tray” - an eyeglass storage fixture used by the client to track individual customers from prescription and frame selection to final order and fitting. In order to accentuate the aforementioned relationships, the fig tray was newly emphasized as a unique organizational tool for the retail display, one that transits retail and medical programs.
Recognizable as an important historical signifier of the brand, a new series of trays was developed, their proportions informing the scale of the cash desk and display shelving and their utility creating overlap between programs. On the sales floor, these trays are stacked on a wall of open steel shelving, creating a shifting texture and field of color as they are utilized throughout the day. A pass-through integrated into the millwork allows the trays to seamlessly transit between the newly connected medical and retail spaces where their size and color are used to distinguish between types of prescription and product.
This project was seen as an opportunity to create a concept based on a research-driven analysis. Understanding existing store arrangements and the potential to identify markers of the eyewear fabrication process were goals of investigations that formed the basis of the new design. An existing location on 14th Street then became the prototype and testing ground for this design concept.