The Vera Wang boutique, located in the historic cast-iron Soho district, reflects and extends the designer’s sensibility of elegant, performative luxury. Created to showcase the Ready-to-Wear and Lavender collections, the 2,000-square-foot, two-level environment is infused with light and based on the dynamic qualities of a white box theater, is an infinitely changeable space which facilitates special events, such as the seasonal runway shows and contemporary artists’ exhibitions.
The storefront entrance, considered as a proscenium frame, is followed by the center-stage main collection, and finally by the more intimate collection and changing room areas, a luminous backstage conceived as translucent volumes, glowing mood boxes that punctuate the theatrical ambience of the retail environment. Interspersed throughout the lower boutique area, sliding translucent acrylic partitions form a backdrop to the hang bars and the collection on display, and veil a layered procession of spaces, while shaping a meandering path throughout the boutique area.
A significant change in floor elevation created a challenge in this uniquely Soho space. As part of the design solution, the spatial sequence now unfolds down a full-width, white Corian grand stair at the center of the store, which transitions into the more intimate display and changing area at the rear. With the removal of a structural beam at the lower-level ceiling threshold, a more gracious proportion was created above the stair, which doubles as seating platform during special events or as dramatic collection displays.
Reflecting Vera Wang’s fashion design sense, the material palette is based on a series of complementary contrasts. High-gloss, white epoxy flooring contrasts with diaphanous scrims; satin synthetic acrylic partitions feature hand-sculpted, curved edges, while natural architectural plaster is polished to the point of abstraction. Lighting is as much a physical material as the plaster and steel. Recessed LED lights, set beneath acrylic panels, ring the perimeter of the floor area, imparting ambient illumination and heightening the emotional quality of the space. Throughout the boutique, the walls become surfaces for displaying projected imagery or contemporary art: much more than a store, the boutique is a project space for designer Vera Wang’s continual evolution.