Friday, August 20, 2010

Retail Interior | CRYSTAL DENIM SAS | Paris, France | Zaha Hadid

AREA:500 m²

At the heart of the Parisian fashion district, the unique character of this concept brief produces an interesting mix of retail and industry, taking the customer through every step of the process of creating a garment, showcasing the brand’s dexterity and craft with denim fabric. Like an installation, the space is constructed with an elegant sculpture like gesture, organizing the interior and creating differentiated spaces. Its surface cuts through the façade and slabs, to allow natural light to flow down to the basement. It also contains the main stairs bringing guests to the heart of the atelier, establishing an effective connectivity between ground and basement levels. The interior walls are thickened and embedded with storage and display units. They contain the services infrastructure necessary for the operation of the industrial machinery.

Secondary back of house access is also concealed allowing staff to work around the shop in a seamless way. By consolidating natural light with key circulation, the centre piece becomes fundamental in structuring the legibility of the shop, anchoring the shop’s entrance at Rue Saint-Hyacinthe it creates a dynamic flow that is sequenced through the different components of the program. reception on the ground floor, bar and lounge in the basement, followed by tailoring and fitting, colouring, washing and drying. The ground floor on the Rue de la Sourdière side is connected only through the basement creating a space of opportunity, that can be flexibly operated as part of the atelier or as an independent gallery/event space/shop.

The façade creates a fluid transition between exterior and interior, using different levels of transparency and expressing lightness. It brings to the street a playful interaction between the sculptural contemporary interior and the historic street that can be emphasised by the selection of materials and the lighting design. The atelier is therefore a hybrid, neither shop, nor production line, it conveys an insider’s fashion experience that is polarized through a seamless architectural design, creating a niche destination that appeals to the five senses.
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