By  on March 30, 2010

MILAN — Geox has unveiled its first “breathing store” here, a new concept that revolves around the brand’s technology and that will be extended globally, in particular to the newly opened store in New York and then in Rome and Toronto. Work on the Manhattan store is expected to begin late this spring.

“Milan’s store is the brand’s largest in the world and mirrors Geox’s innovative technological design concept of breathability, serving as a concrete metaphor of that,” said a spokeswoman.

Geox founder and chairman Mario Moretti Polegato was recently named Innovator of the Year at the CNBC European Business Leaders Awards for having broken new ground in developing a “fashionable brand with new technology.” Geox’s line of men’s, women’s and children’s footwear and apparel focuses on breathable materializations.

The Montebelluna, Italy-based firm, best known for its footwear, has been extending its product offer with more fashion-oriented ready-to-wear collections. “For this reason, we needed a more expansive space and the necessary structure to better display our clothing,” said the spokeswoman. “The more fashion we show, the more we sell it. We have the product, we just need to put the consumer in touch with it.”

The building lodging the three-story, 10,800-square-foot flagship is located in the central Via Torino, near Milan’s Gothic cathedral. Architect Dante Benini redesigned the space through an eco-friendly technology that helps regulate temperature increases inside the store, with reduced use of energy and electricity. The building’s carbon-dioxide emissions have been reduced by 35.5 tons a year, representing a 75 percent reduction. “In terms of certification, the building has been upgraded from class D to class A, which is the highest of the seven thresholds provided by regulations used to classify shops and buildings based on their energy quality,” said the spokeswoman.

The facade is covered in hundreds of stainless-steel slabs in three colors: gold, bronze and copper, dotted with tiny holes. “Each is connected to a computerised movement system similar to the one used in airplane flaps, which allows the angle of the plates to open and close throughout the day, thereby keeping the internal temperature of the building constant by relying on the sunlight and shade instead of air conditioning,” said the spokeswoman.

The company counts more than 1,000 stores, of which 20 are in the U.S. Geox products are also available at about 10,000 points of sale in the world, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor.

Revenues last year totaled 865 million euros, or $1.2 billion at average exchange rates. Rtw accounted for 10 percent of sales. Geox was first listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2004.

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