The new Calvin Klein Underwear store in SoHo is a glossy profusion of black glass and reflective lights. It’s not exactly the sheetrock walls and limestone flooring that many associate with the designer, who made “minimalism” a part of the industry’s vocabulary.
But it’s a “comfortably sexy” interpretation of the brand’s updated image, says designer Mark Janson, partner at the Janson Goldstein design firm (New York). It also resolves a problem that faced parent company Warnaco Group Inc. four years ago, when it began rolling out stores starting with a new Hong Kong location.
“There was no time or money for intensive construction,” Janson recalls. The designer’s solution was to create a distinctive and functional fixturing system that becomes the store design. “Everything could be built offsite, trucked in and installed overnight,” Janson says. “And it reduced all the other construction costs.”
The 1000-square-foot Hong Kong store has since been replicated several times, including in a London mall and on SoHo’s Prince Street in New York (shown). The black-glass walls and aluminum floor beckon sparklingly to passersby. The fixture for men’s products is attached to the ceiling and floor, seeming to float in front of the wall.
In contrast, the women’s fixture set against the wall consists of a long horizontal bar constructed of white painted aluminum panels. Undergarments are organized into separate stories by use of an edge-lighted, solid-frosted acrylic divider. There are also places to insert graphics, text or video.
Janson Goldstein also recreated the look and feel of the stores in CKU’s vendor shops in Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor. Two perimeter walls create the same glittery black-glass effect, and a freestanding kiosk has a lighted, raised-platform floor and mannequins.
Both the freestanding and department store shops feature provocative oversized photo imagery – reminiscent of those suggestive print ads and huge posters of Brooke Shields, Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss looming over Times Square. Twenty years later, there’s still something about “her and her Calvins.”
Retailer: Calvin Klein, New York
Design: Janson Goldstein LLP, New York; Steven Scuro, partner in charge; Camaal Benoit, project architect; Outside Design Consultant; Schwinghanner Lighting, New York (lighting)
Fixtures: Anglo ERI, St. Neots, U.K.
Lighting: CS Illumination, Vista, Calif.
Wallcoverings and Materials: Carritec Inc., Dorval, Que.
Aluminum Chains: Daisycake, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Curtain Fabric: Donghia, New York
General Contractor: Russco Inc., Fall River, Mass.
Photography: Mikiko Kikuyama, Brooklyn, N.Y.