by Devanshi ShahFeb 02, 2022
Apart from exclusivity, price tags and refinement, what makes a brand classify as luxury?
Does being owned by political giants like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt or personalities like Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga qualify? Does making swords for the battle and ceremonies of the Civil War count? Is designing the Great Seal of the United States in the 1880s significant enough? Does having a patented Pantone colour add to it?
Having a history is a luxury, and the legacy of Tiffany & Co. corresponds to just that. What started as a 'fancy goods' store on Broadway in New York in 1837 is now one of the biggest luxury jewellery retailers in the world, currently in its 185th year of existence. To tell the story of its past and exhibit collections designed as early as the company’s inception, OMA conceived a pop-up store on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. It is a boutique, an exhibition space and a lounge, all at once.
In the heart of the 8th arrondissement in Paris, OMA bridges the past and the present of Tiffany’s in an adaptive design that not only caters to the functions but creates an experience for the visitors. Drenched in a contrasting palette of royal blue and sand gold colour theme, the spaces host designs from the 185-year-old collection to the most recent pieces. With a gradient blue carpet spread across the space, the rotunda occupies the high end of the blue spectrum with highlights from Tiffany’s jewellery archive, exhibited physically and on digital screens. In the rear end is an intimate room for high jewellery appointments, also featuring the French Crown Jewels catalogue from 1887.
In between the continuum of the rotunda and the rectangular room lies the octagonal space set in subtle gold interiors, which displays the current collection of Tiffany's. Apart from the precious jewellery, the visitors walk in to find Louis Comfort Tiffany-designed iconic Tiffany lamps that evoke memories of Gothic stained glass. While narrating the long history of Tiffany's, the various other creations of the company hold as much significance in the spaces as the celebrated jewellery, which OMA seems to have effectively reflected through the design.
In the immersive experience of shopping, custom furniture and jewellery set in a contrasting backdrop encourage visitors to leisurely wander and try on the pieces. Between the ebb and flow of corners and smooth edges, the design of the temporary store resembles the facets and cut of precious stones. In addition to it, the lighting design and shapes of the display stand further add to this dramatic sense of physically experiencing the brilliance of a diamond. "Tiffany & Co. has a rich history both in making jewellery and in product design. For us, it was important to showcase that history. More than an occasion to discover Tiffany’s latest collection, a visit to the store also becomes a journey across time," states Ellen van Loon, partner at OMA.
At the crossroads of design and luxury, the coming together of OMA and Tiffany & Co. seems to be a collaboration worth looking forward to. Within the trend for luxury brands working alongside architects to imagine interventions varying from pop-ups to brand campaigns, the architecture of fashion is gaining much momentum. Though it’s arguable whether this recurrence is necessary or hyped, the results from the marriage between luxury houses and architecture seem to be nothing less than a fashion statement in itself.
(Text by Sunena V Maju, intern at STIRworld)
Name: Tiffany & Co. store
Location: Paris, France
Client: Tiffany & Co.
Partner: Ellen van Loon
Project Architect: Giulio Margheri
Team: Jacopo Bellina, Sebastian Bernardy, Miguel Herreras San José, Mateusz Kiercz, Philippe Le Quellec, Mingda Zhang