AK Rikk’s is a high-end fashion retailer that, having outgrown its previous location, purchased an existing building with plans to increase their retail space to 14,000SF by an 8,000SF addition, with the remainder of the structure being dedicated to offices, support, storage, flex space, and the “Back Room,” a space dedicated to students to make, shoot, edit and otherwise explore fashion. Design began in August of 2011 and construction began October 5, 2011 and was completed September 10, 2012.
The singular vision for AK Rikk’s was to have an alluring, sophisticated retail space that expresses in architectural language the high quality and finely tailored merchandise that is offered to their clientele. It was important that the interior architecture and retail design provide a composition of vignettes able to feature single brands within the larger context of the store, without detracting from a cohesive identity. Visitors to the store should feel that they are participating in continuous, energetic fashion performance art, in a way that goes beyond mere observation.
The architecture is a composition of balanced forms in simple, sophisticated materials, rich in color and texture and gives the gift of amazement, showing customers things they have never before seen, exceeding expectations at every turn. The design is centered around the 30’x158’ concourse with an average ceiling height of 28’ that acts as the backbone for smaller, intimate spaces and vignettes located at its edges. It is flooded with natural daylight, making the entire store highly visible and understandable, allowing customers to circulate with ease. The upper level mezzanine containing the suit room, made-to-measure room and personal shopping salon overlooks the entire length of the concourse and is edged with a glass railing. A clerestory glass strip likewise runs the entire length of the concourse and brings ample daylight into the upper level. The front facade is punctuated by three glass tower elements (one of which is the main entrance) that bathe the interior in daylight and put the store interior on vivid display as seen from the outside.
Everything has been executed at a grand scale. Some custom display casework is 18 feet tall. The upper level is reached by a dramatic marble stair case with glass railings. There are two custom pendant lights in the concourse that are 10 feet in diameter. One end of the concourse features an 8’ wide x 16’ tall array of 12 flat panel monitors that stream fashion related video content. The exterior concrete panels are fitted with a stainless steel post and cable lattice for climbing vines. Existing brick and block fire stair towers were sheathed in horizontal teak wood slats. In order to achieve a desired higher ceiling height in two areas of the existing building, two 32’ x 28’ holes were cut in the concrete slab floor and new floors were installed 16” lower. The southwest glass tower features a 12’ x 12’ display platform that can be mechanically raised and lowered by a cable and winch system.