Baranowitz + Kronenberg (B+K) has designed the flagship New York showroom for high-end designer jewelry brand Âme, located on Spring Street in Soho. B+K took inspiration from the shadows of the undulating cast-iron facades typical of this district. On entering the space, the sharp contrast between the stainless steel polished surfaces of the centerpieces and the peripheral steel paneled walls are immediately obvious, representing how the cast-iron buildings of the area contrast with the daily life of a bustling city.
The main theme of the design of the store is the combination of past, present and future. The duality of the historic architecture of Soho, New York with the cutting-edge modern design inspired by this very architecture, creates an entirely new impression and reflects the very soul of Âme. The dark peripheral envelope of the interior executed with vertically soaring rolled steel panels is a bold and abstract embracing backdrop for the central jewelry displays. A monochromatic palette, present throughout, enhances the jewelry pieces and the reflective spatial arrangement encourages movement through the store.
Upon entering, there is a sense of familiarity that allows customers to feel at home and be as intuitive as possible while walking among the displays. To further enhance Âme's design strategy, music, scent and touch are all key elements in the sensory retail experience. A bespoke scent created by British perfume designer Azzi Glasser for the brand is a permanent feature present throughout, amplifying the essence of luxury. Each piece of jewelry, which has been exclusively designed by Elinor Avni, is uniquely housed inside their own capsules and state of the art glass cloches, inviting the impression that it is served rather than displayed. The practice designed with this presentation in mind to encourage a slower journey around the store and engagement in the act of revealing and contemplating. The space also features a small bar to sit and enjoy a rejuvenating drink.
Following the success of the B+K designed first Âme's store in Los Angeles which opened in April 2019, the practice has set out to deliver a similar sensorial experience for the New York store, through their unique design for the display of jewelry.
"We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Âme once again," commented Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronenberg, Co-Founders of Baranowitz + Kronenberg. "This project follows our design philosophy that has been our guiding light for two decades; we come, observe and then look at the findings with an open mind while scrutinizing every contextual insight and its relevance to our brand and its target audience. We allow the essence of place to lead us while always looking for synergetic points with the brand's DNA.
"Representing qualities that emerge from the essence of place resonates with the mindset of people immersed in that neighborhood. They render the store as belonging to that part of the city and as a piece of its very soul."
Photography: Amit Geron