Preview — Sep 30, 2010

Sculpture is an exclusive intimate-apparel store in central London where the elegant but low-key interior design serves as a subtle merchandising stage where the product is as much a part of the interiors as are the finishes, fixtures and geometry. Shot-silk covered panels, subdued recessed lighting, limestone and glass countertops and shelves, and sparingly displayed merchandise create an appearance more closely resembling an art gallery than a retail establishment. There is no hint of one of the building's previous incarnations: home to rock music icon Jimi Hendrix. From the outset, our intent was to install a degree of sensuousness and intimacy befitting the nature of the apparel. To this end, the elongated, 140-square-meter space has been animated by curved, built-in display cabinetry and angled suspended ceilings that draw customers through the store along a gently meandering route. The entire experience, from the traditional navy blue shopfront to the sales desk set unobtrusively at the back of the store, is quiet and unhurried, as discreet in its sales approach as the merchandise on display.

The first shop in the U.K. dedicated solely to La Perla Fashion Group's brands, Sculpture is in the heart of London's famed Bond Street fashion district. While the location has surpassed cachet, it presented the design team with some challenges. For example, the building is relatively small and very linear, limiting design options. It is also Grade One Listed, meaning that the historic exterior and overall proportions could not be altered.

The result is a classic facade that leads buyers into an elegantly modern retail setting appropriate to one of the most exclusive fashion lines in the world. From geometry and materials to display methods, Sculpture relies on minimalism to complement rather than compete with its product in much the same way that an art gallery uses light and space to frame its exhibits.

Instead of racks, highly polished stainless-steel rails are suspended from the ceiling or cantilevered from walls to give the lingerie the appearance of floating in space. Panels of ochre-colored, Jim Thompson Thai silk provide backdrops that blend with rich maple flooring at ground level, while on the lower level, silver-toned silk panels blend naturally with smooth limestone floors. Thick glass display shelves and mirrors help to bring a sense of light and depth into the narrow space.

Sculpture was an immediate commercial success. The store continually attracts widespread praise in the fashion industry and from the press.

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