Triptych of stores for Commes des Garçons in New York, Tokyo and Paris

Back Story: Exploring the importance of threshold for a new retail experience

August 20 2014

The brief to create a new kind of space with an atmosphere of experimentation has resulted in three powerful, uncompromising environments, focussing on the threshold between arrival and entry.

New York

Rather than creating an entirely new façade, which was the original brief, the existing nineteenth century fabric with all the old signage and external industrial fire escapes is retained. Grafted behind the central existing brickwork entrance arch is the link: an asymmetric entrance structure made entirely from aluminium that draws the visitor in from the noise of the New York street. The entrance becomes a transition, not entirely inside or outside, but a fissure through an existing building heading to new environment. The skin has been mechanically formed and then finished to reveal the hands of the maker.


Two horizontal concrete slabs of a dumb existing building are joined with two ribbons of conical-curved, inclined glass offering a simple liquid entrance where they converge. The glass is covered with a layer of translucent blue dots which act as a filter between inside and outside. At night the movement of people within the shop creates a curiosity for the pedestrian passing the façade.


The historic, worn stone façade is protected and enhanced by a sheer skin of pink glass sliding gracefully in front of it. The colour is intensified at the base, fading to clear, to create visual weight.