Longchamp announced the opening of La Maison Madison, its flagship boutique at 713, Madison Avenue, New York. The previous store has undergone a complete transformation, masterminded by the architect Eric Carlson, whose Carbondale agency has also developed a new store design concept that will be rolled out progressively to Longchamp boutiques worldwide.
Longchamp's Madison Avenue location presented particular challenges, owing to the linear block pattern and narrow building lots characteristic of Manhattan. Among the innovative architectural solutions envisioned by Eric Carlson is a striking double-height "fold" on the façade, inspired by Longchamp's iconic Le Pliage bags, which clearly marks out the store from its environment.
The interior references Longchamp's heritage as the quintessential French brand with features playfully evoking Paris, including an ingenious system of linear displays inspired by the folding book stalls of the bouquinistes along the banks of the Seine, and an abstract representation of the Eiffel Tower in the elevator. Throughout the 2500 sqf of the store, the beauty of the materials chosen - wood, lacquer, glass and leather - and the extreme attention to detail reflect Longchamp's tradition of craftsmanship, while some of the company's most emblematic signatures, such as veau foulonne leather and the LM print motif, are reinterpreted as elements of the store design.
Another highlight of La Maison Madison is a feature wall displaying an artwork created specially for Longchamp by the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. Celebrated for his vibrant use of color, Carlos Cruz-Diez is perhaps best known for his Transchromies, mobile works formed by transparent sheets of intensely colored acetate, which - as the light and the position of the viewer change - undergo fascinating transformations.
"What really impresses me about Longchamp is the discretion that permeates the brand. There is something attractive and unique about possessing an abundance of qualities, but revealing them only in measured doses," comments Eric Carlson. "We have focused on translating this brand equity of 'sober chic' architecturally by harnessing the richness of materials and textures found in Longchamp products."
"First and foremost, we have given Longchamp a permanent address on one of the most prestigious avenues in the world," said Jean Cassegrain, CEO of Longchamp. "La Maison Madison will become the uptown partner of La Maison Unique, the stunning flagship we opened four years ago in Soho, and both stores will be great assets that will spearhead the future growth of Longchamp in the US."
Photos: Adrian Wilson