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Freestanding pavilions define the Calvin Klein Home shop within Lord & Taylor’s New York City flagship. The strong, clean lines of the structures stand out against the department store in the background.

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A Fashionable Home Store

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Photos by Amy Barkow, © Barkow Photo

Lynch/Eisinger/Design knows Calvin Klein. The New York City-based architecture firm has designed many retail locations for the company that made underwear a status symbol. But creating a retail space for the brand’s first home collection posed new challenges (like, what to do when there are no posters of Mark Wahlberg and his abs?). Principal architects Simon Eisinger and Christian Lynch explain the challenges involved in designing Calvin Klein Home’s… home.

DB: You’ve designed retail spaces for Calvin Klein’s clothing brands before, so what made designing a space for its home line different?
Simon Eisinger: Usually we use architecture to define the brand and express a cultural environment that fits Calvin Klein’s apparel. Retailing home furnishings is different. Rather than just being housed within the environment, the furnishings can become part of it. It’s like showing apparel on a model instead of hanging on a rack.

DB: How does this space reflect the Calvin Klein brand?
Christian Lynch: This was the first retail space dedicated to the Calvin Klein Home collection, so they wanted to establish an iconic presence. Our response was to build a pair of freestanding, house-like pavilions, with ‘rooms’ reflecting the various parts of the collection. The pavilions act as showrooms for the furnishings, while the surrounding areas house smaller housewares (linens, rugs, glassware, bath items, etc.) for immediate purchase. This design also allowed us to break up the large footprint into interior and exterior spaces, each with different light and material qualities. 

DB: The pavilions are minimalist, much like Calvin Klein’s clothing. Was this connection intentional?
SE: Their blackened steel and glass allow just the right degree of presence, while remaining transparent and porous enough not to obstruct views and access to the rest of the space. Outside the pavilions, the palette is stripped back to plain white surfaces and simple stainless steel and glass fixtures so that the detail, color, and texture come from the product itself.

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