“The important thing for us is to try to tell their story, in their brand vocabulary, with their look and their style, not ours,” said architect Jeffrey Hutchison of working with his clients. Another key, he said, is to “add the element of surprise.”
Hutchison, known for his innovative, imaginative store designs, was at Atelier Courbet on Wednesday evening for the launch of his monograph “Tailored Retail,” which featured photos of his firm’s creations, which have included stores for Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, HMX and others. Courbet, for its part, may be the only luxury retail emporium in Manhattan with furnishings that run to an utterly pristine buggy, stationed with studied casualness near colorful Pierre, Paul and Jacques stools by Eric Jourdan for Domeau & Pérès and a striking bicycle designed by multitasker Pharrell Williams.
As for the designs from Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates, a store for the handbag firm Dooney & Bourke in Macau reflected firm founder Peter Dooney’s love of sailing, with an interior that was meant to suggest the elegantly curvilinear lines of a yacht. Among the details of a Barneys New York store in Las Vegas were a swirling pattern of stylized spades, hearts and clubs that form wheels in the window of one shop — inspired, of course, by the gaming that’s the city’s most important industry and intended to filter natural daylight.
Meanwhile, a Barneys store in Copley Place, Boston, featured a graphic, Mondrian-inspired wall in its inside facade. Casa Palacio, a luxurious housewares store in Mexico City, gave several brands their own “house” within the context of the shop, with rooms designed as if for living, and other parts of the store resembled an upscale market in the metropolis.
Ten percent of sales of the book will benefit Architecture for Humanity, which teams architects and designers with communities in need.
Another of his signatures, Hutchison added, is to blend old-world and modern elements. The book, said the architect, who looked smart in a Ermenegildo Zegna suit worn with a Duncan Quinn shirt and tie, was an opportunity to look at his 13 years of work for his own firm “as one whole thing.” It began when he decided to overhaul the Web site and then went further, intending to give his team a chance to look at some of the projects they’d created in recent years.
An important part of his work, he emphasized, is collaborating with artisans such as sculptor John-Paul Philippe, ceramicist Maria Moyer, lighting designer Lindsey Adelman and glassblower Andrew Hughes. Among the examples shown is the hand-worked metal detailing at the Ippolita jewelry flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York, which illustrates a fascination with craftsmanship.
Upcoming enterprises, the company founder said, include a new store for Saks in Hawaii.