Italian luxury men’s wear brand Isaia has opened a boutique in San Francisco, its third Stateside, located in the historic Frank Lloyd Wright building at 140 Maiden Lane that was one of the original blueprints for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Formerly home to the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, the store boasts 7,900 square feet of space, with 4,000 square feet dedicated to retail sales, incorporating a bevy of unique design elements.
“It is all about the space,” said Gianluca Isaia, chief executive officer and third generation of the family-run company. “We kept the integrity of every design feature intact. As an update to the store’s existing beauty, we focused on adding a color-sensitive lighting schematic, sound system and the styling of our product to complete the experience. It was much like restoring a masterful piece of art to its glory and giving it a new personality.”
Taking over a landmarked building was no small task, because none of the original materials could be touched or modified, including the original wall plaster, millwork, trim, flooring railings, bubbled ceilings and, of course, the brick and stone façade. Planning required the interior of the space to be painted the exact color that Wright had used when the original space first opened.
All the furniture inside was chosen by interior designer Alberta Saladino from the gallery Esprit Nouveau in Naples. The important pieces include a Jelly Pea sofa designed by architect and designer India Mahdavi, vintage armchairs designed by Paolo Buffa, sculpture by Michele Iodice and a swinging bar attributed to Osvaldo Borsani. The pair of round rugs were made based on Saladino and architect Martino Ferrari’s drawings inspired by a design from the Fifties, re-adapted to respect the round shapes of the spaces.
The shop also features a vintage Campari bar, red lacquered piano, and relaxed seating area that are part of all 15 of Isaia’s shop designs, including its original boutique in Milan and its 5,400-square-foot flagship on Madison Avenue in New York.
The store will carry a mix of sportswear, tailored clothing and made-to-measure, with exclusive product options available. In addition, Isaia San Francisco will house a Frank Lloyd Wright Library for those who wish to borrow books and provide historical information curated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy. Further programming includes a rotating art gallery and architecture lecture series.