Chanel’s new flagship on 57th Street got a proper New York welcome on Wednesday night. Architect Peter Marino held court at the boutique after hours, mingling with the intimate crowd stopping by to toast the space before heading to dinner at the nearby Lobster Club, another Marino-designed project.
Artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, who has been collaborating with Marino for 14 years and created a 60-foot-tall sculpture for the 57th Street boutique, had flown in from Paris for the event.
“Isn’t it great that the whole thing is connected just there?” remarked Juan Carlos Menendez, glancing up at the piece’s apex, flush with the ceiling.
“This one is the most impressive in terms of scale, in terms of technique,” Othoniel said from the fourth floor, peering over the railing to take in his dramatic sculpture, which is composed of stacked metal balls twisting from floor to ceiling to invoke cascading strands of a beaded necklace. The boutique’s staircase winds around the reflective sculpture, set slightly off-center; it’s like a surrogate spine for the space.
“It’s almost five tons of glass suspended in one point and it seems floating,” Othoniel added. “The base is a polished steel, so you have the reflection of the necklace inside. It’s like an infinite well. Also, when you’re in a boutique, you have a lot of information coming from the product. And because the space is so pure, very white, when you take the stairs you can enter the spirit of the piece. You are escaping reality a little bit — it’s like a fairy tale.”