Curiosity Shop - Paul Smith Fashion Stores
A late eighteenth-century palazzo in Milan has been converted into a major store for a fashion entrepreneur, enhancing the building's intricate character. The eccentric individualism belonging to the fashion entrepreneur, Paul Smith, is encapsulated in 264 shops distributed throughout society and most recently in the series of flagship stores, all designed by Sophie Hicks, in London, Milan and soon, in Paris, france ,. Smiths dislike of branded clothing extends to create of his shops along with Hicks as a willing accomplice, each of 2 flagships relates to its context, but in playful fashion. If the London store is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the smart town house stuffed with treasures, the Milanese version is a jewel-like interior housed in the first floor of a late eighteenth-century palazzo and paying obeisance to its crumbling magnificence. Created out of a double-height volume, it has an L-shaped plan and tall arched windows onto the path. The site had been badly chopped about and Hicks has treated it in archaeological fashion, preserving the antique and the use of it, while inserting the new. The old included a row of three tall arches (possibly part of an old courtyard) running down lengthy arm of the L, a stone staircase at its far end, as well as an ancient terrazzo floor. Into the double-height space Hicks has inserted an L-shaped gallery that in the long arm of the L becomes toplit. It is reached by a new staircase at the front of the shop, devoted to women, children and accessories, and the old stone stairs at the back which is the men's province. Throughout, there are visual connections between lower and upper levels, for instance the particular upper part of arches to the ground floor, or glass slots cut into the gallery. Colour and textural richness predominate. Walls, plastered traditionally, are rose pink; along with the terrazzo floor, partly damaged, has been visibly repaired with pink mosaic. Elsewhere, new insertions are deliberately alien. Double translucent glass walls of changing rooms, lit from within, shed glowing luminance sideways and the light wall provides a backing for glass shelving. New stairs, from women's collection to gallery, contrast the prettiness of terrazzo treads and pink plastered wall with the crispness of industrial fixings. Detailing throughout of glass shelving, display cabinets and balustrading is immaculate. In Falling water, which was built as a weekend retreat for Edgar J. Kaufmann, we see Wright's greatest expression of 'organic architecture' --the union of the structure as well as the land upon which it's built. Falling water is considered Wright's masterwork.