‘Joe Fresh, Canada’s stylish and affordable brand of clothing and accessories has recently opened a 14,000 s.f. flagship store in New York’s historic ‘Crystal Lantern’ bank branch by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, a landmark and a modernist masterpiece. At the corner of 5th Avenue and 43rd Street, the building is wrapped with 27-foot high glass windows that showcase the interior and channel views upwards towards a floating, white terrazzo mezzanine and a glowing ceiling that create the impression of weightless architecture. These elements are embellished by an original 70’ long gilded screen and whimsical hanging ‘cloud’ mobile, both by modernist sculptor and furniture designer, Harry Bertoia and interior design by Burdifilek.
In contrast with other mass-market fashion retailer concepts, the store interior embraces its architectural bones and opens to its surroundings. According to Interior Designer and Burdifilek Creative Partner, Diego Burdi (who with his partner Paul Filek has designed Joe Fresh stores since the brand was launched five years ago.)
‘We kept the store open to the spectacular views which we regard as a moving wallpaper of New York City. The store is airy, colourful, urban and ever changing, underscoring what Joe Fresh is all about.’
To protect the historic features of the building, none of the shop fittings were drilled into the floor, walls or ceiling. Instead, free-floating, sculptural merchandising systems compliment the lightness of the host building. These custom-designed wardrobes can be easily arranged and reconfigured by Joe Fresh’s merchandising team into vignettes to separate collections and to break down the space as desired. Each vignette composes a different ‘colour story’ of Joe Fresh’s clothing and accessories. The wardrobes are crafted from white, powder-coated metal with sandblasted Lexan panels to transmit light. Incorporating seamless monitors, mirrors or backlit billboards, they are radiant and dynamic, and along with a few select number of glowing light boxes in Joe Fresh’s signature orange and video screens displaying contemporary art videos or runway shows, they contribute to the liveliness of the store and help the merchandise to glow.
Echoing Joe Fresh’s approach to fashion, Burdifilek paid careful attention to detailing and proportion, crafting the shop fittings from simple yet noble materials—but always with a contemporary twist. For example, the display tables are powder coated aluminium ‘Parsons tables’ with ‘benches’ and white polycarbonate merchandising cubes are poured from wood molds so that they have the texture of wood grain and the appearance of porcelain. According to Burdi, ‘Joe Fresh is proudly Canadian and reflecting that our design is confident yet understated. If you look closely, you’ll find subtle but sophisticated nuances that create interest and distinguish the Joe Fresh aesthetic.’