By  on October 31, 2011

The gradual makeover of Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship has been quietly under way for nine months. Now the bandages are starting to come off, beginning with the eighth-floor Co-op, where a new look will be unveiled Friday. It’s the first full floor in the store to bear the mark of the new design and architectural vision conceived by Barneys ceo Mark Lee, and creative director Dennis Freedman, who held the same title for 20 years in the editorial world at W magazine and was brought in-house to preside over the visual aspects of the store.

Lee and Freedman worked with architectural firm Yabu Pushelberg, which has considerable experience in the luxury, multibrand retail space, having designed Bergdorf Goodman, Lane Crawford’s Hong Kong and Beijing stores and Printemps in Paris. In terms of the design direction, the 22,000-square-foot space is pure minimalist. The industrial cracked, concrete floors and pipe rolling racks have been replaced with a gray mosaic marble floor, fixtures are made from blackened steel and frosted glass, and the walls are stark white. Pillars painted with “Boy Meets Girl at Co-op” are just about the only hint of whimsy on a floor that was once bathed in the cheeky stylings of former creative director Simon Doonan. For his part, Doonan, one of the few key players held over from the old regime, who is now a creative ambassador, said he hadn’t seen the new Co-op.

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