It takes more than jewelry to get a Tiffany & Co. store to really sparkle.
New York’s Fradkin & McAlpin Architects has worked on some 27 Tiffany remodels or new store designs in the past five years in 11 countries, most recently capping a 15-month renovation of the jeweler’s 9,000-square-foot flagship on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills last month.
The three-phase renovation, across the store’s four levels, included work to the store’s interior and exterior, and reflects the company’s newer design approach.
“It’s very bright and contemporary,” said Fradkin & McAlpin principal Bennett Fradkin, pointing out the store’s Art Deco influences. “It represents glamour and sophistication and very rich materials. But at the same time, it’s really approachable. It’s different than the old Tiffany’s look, which had a lot of dark wood and the image was more of the corporate boardroom.”
He added there has been a new design direction, which has slowly evolved over the past five years that the firm has been working with the jeweler.
Currently, the company is juggling multiple projects for Tiffany, including remodels at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver and two locations in San Juan at the Mall of San Juan and Plaza Las Americas Mall.
As with anything, the firm landed Tiffany based on a relationship and work it had done on in the past — a high-end co-op apartment in New York. The interior designer on the project would later become the head designer at Tiffany and called on Fradkin when the jeweler was looking for more design partners.
Fradkin & McAlpin’s workload is diverse, with other projects for the likes of David Yurman, Suitsupply and Dunhill. It also keeps busy with institutional clients and high-end residential projects. The latter is hardly a stretch from the work the firm does for luxury retailers, which have more recently sought to add residential qualities to their stores to make customers feel welcome.
“You need to be able to work with a broad spectrum of the public, meaning that at Tiffany you can go to Tiffany and buy some silver piece for under $100 but have the experience of shopping in Tiffany, being treated royally and walking away with your blue box and bag,” Fradkin said. “And you have a similar experience to the person who comes in and is buying a $75,000 ring.”
Certainly there’s nothing new in a brand wanting to create loyalty and addressing a range of clients, Fradkin pointed out, but the evolution of the retail industry has made design all the more valuable in creating the right store environment and getting people to come in and stay.
“We’re in the middle of understanding that with the ability to shop online, people really do like to go to a store,” he said. “But they do want that different experience [and] I think a richer experience in the environment is something people want.”