When TRA was asked to design a new innovative, authentic, responsible and, flexible concept for the “flagship” Agnes b. laboratory, we had negotiate often contrasting needs and programs.
The space, located in an 1863 loft building, had to be elegant and timeless, sparse but not spare, also warm and inviting, like the Agnes b.’s line itself; it also had to be specific to SoHo and entirely flexible, allowing for repositioning or complete removal of the fixtures, to support different interpretations and the development of what the company describes as “projects”.
The challenge was to design a space that was a store, but also where the well known and established, separate modes of the company could find their expression.
Like Agnes’s “point d’ironie” , a hybrid periodical - half magazine, half poster , the space is half gallery and half retail, it maximizes the brand through the minimalism of the space: the curated fashion, music, art and screenings are part of the décor.
The loft presents the unusual characteristic of sloping more than a foot from the front to the back; similarly to other spaces designed by the TRA, the pragmatic resolution of the problem becomes the geometric structure and provides the iconic image around which the design is built.A 30’ long, sleek, stepped platform greets the visitor and at once separates and connects the front “project room”, at once a quiet lounge and a dynamic gallery, to the store proper.
The contrast between the thin cables and floating thick lacquered shelves like, the choice of rough and smooth finishes, parallels the Agnes B. aesthetic where sturdy fabrics can be found along side the sheer and precious. The color is sparse, changing with the transition of the day.
The industrial, authentic, responsible loft aesthetic and the blurred distinction between outside and inside is reinforced by the exterior grade “green materials”, such as soft finish concrete and historic brick walls. We responsibly took full advantage of the historic surviving elements: this is a tranquil lifestyle space intended to last, where the elements will also get better with the patina of use.
Finally, the flag graphic, by combining the American flag with the Agnes b, signature, summarizes the brand attitude: truly French with strong ties to the New York history.
TRA also was also instrumental in the system and design detailing project scheduling, scheduling and project management and delivery.