IPPOLITA Is a Sweet Shop - Design Bureau

Ippolita Store on Madison Avenue, NYC

Ippolita Store on Madison Avenue, NYC

Ippolita Store on Madison Avenue, NYC

ippolita jess

Jess LaRotonda created a hand-sculpted chandelier that forms the main design focal point at IPPOLITA

IPPOLITA Is a Sweet Shop

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Photo by Michael Weschler Photography
Jess LaRotonda portrait by Maria Teicher of EverydayEros Studios

With collections like “Rock Candy” and “Lollipop,” it’s no surprise that Italian jewelry brand IPPOLITA’s new Madison Avenue flagship is the adult equivalent of a candy store. Under the direction of brand founder Ippolita Rostagno, fashion retail architecture and design firm Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates incorporated natural and hand-worked materials, including plaster finish on the walls, hand-carved bronze, and hammered brass metal embellishments that echo the jewelry’s sculptural elements. Challenged by the store’s small square footage, the team focused on a few key elements, including the large metal and glass armoires. “It creates the right balance of interest without overwhelming the product,” Hutchison says.

The focal point is a one-of-a-kind chandelier bursting with hand-sculpted porcelain flowers created by local artist Jess LaRotonda. “Ippolita wanted to create a sculptural centerpiece that would be a counterpoint to the rest of the store,” Hutchison says. Like the store’s stunning wares, the decadent chandelier is a treat for the eyes.

Spotlight on the Artist

New York City sculptor and recent New York Academy of Art grad Jess LaRotonda is skilled in the three “P”s: plastic, plaster, and porcelain. LaRotonda uses these and other textural materials to create her intricate three-dimensional sculptures, including the porcelain-flower chandelier for the IPPOLITA flagship. The idea for the chandelier hatched when LaRotonda first met Ippolita Rostagno at the Tribeca Ball, an annual event hosted at the New York Academy of Art. LaRotonda’s ceramic flowers were on display and caught the eye of Rostagno, who later contacted LaRotonda about creating something similar for her store. 

The resulting sculpture, made of thousands of porcelain flowers, took about three months to complete. (LaRotonda spent two days on-site to custom fit the fixture.) It was time well spent for the artist, who says the positive reactions to her first major installation have been the best reward: “Maybe it’s a little cheesy to say, but that’s my favorite part. I created this object, and it exists to make people happy.”

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