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Eric Feigenbaum

Web Exclusive: The Towers of Satélite

Renowned mid-century Mexican architect inspires a recent El Palacio de Hierro renovation

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Photography: Courtesy of TPG Architecture/Eric Feigenbaum

EL PALACIO DE HIERRO (Mexico City) is continuing to open new stores and remodel existing ones, doing so with an understanding that inspiration is everywhere. Each location the storied retailer opens is a distinctive representation of its surroundings: The luxury Mexican retailer considers each store a flagship and an homage to local history and tradition; moreover, they position every new store as a gift to the local community.

The full-scale renovation of Palacio’s Satélite store, designed in partnership with TPG Architecture (New York), draws upon the inspiration of Luis Barragan, a prominent figure in modern Mexican architecture. Born in Guadalajara in 1902, his vision profoundly influenced contemporary architects and urban landscapes throughout Mexico. Barragan’s iconic Torres de Satélite (“Satélite Towers”), consisting of a large-scale grouping of sculptures, is located in Ciudad Satélite, an upscale neighborhood in northern Naucalpan, Mexico.

After World War II, Mexico’s population exploded and Mexico City expanded. A new suburban community quickly grew in Satélite. Barragan’s towers, considered among Mexico’s first large-scale urban sculptures, serve as a welcoming gesture to those entering the city. The towers were completed in 1958 and became a symbol of the newly developed Ciudad Satélite.

Inspired by mid-century Mexican design, the renovated 385,000-square-foot environment opened Nov. 1, 2023, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Satélite. Barragan’s iconic towers were replicated in the store with structural columns supporting the atrium and dome above. As in the city, the in-store towers serve as a welcoming gesture.

On the upper level, a series of trusses, mid-century in style, shape the dome above the gourmet offerings, wine and a grand food hall. This creates a powerful draw, enticing people to travel to the top floor, where they’ll enjoy panoramic views of the neighborhood.

The home department, adjacent to the food area, is separated by wood veneer and a concrete-like stucco wall that reflects the modern building projects in and around Satélite.

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A bold application of Mexican color and illumination adds to the overall appeal of the entire environment. Every classification of merchandise or department is considered a different room. Additionally, each floor is dominated by a major category. The lower floor called the sculpture garden damas (ladies), features women’s lingerie housed in a modern residential feel, with tables and risers inspired by garden furniture.

Cosmetics, jewelry and luxury are housed on the second level with a living room feel complete with the warmth and charm of a wood ceiling and stone floor. The women’s shoes section also provides that living room comfort with a textured carpet and a mid-century-inspired shelved room divider that defines the space.

The third floor presents men’s and sporting goods in a residential library or study-like setting adorned with dark walnut and oak. The residential feel resonates with the neighborhood ethos of families revolving around the home.

“The renovated Satélite store reflects the Palacio brand image accurately,” says Alec Zaballero, Managing Executive at TPG. “Palacio creates stores that a community feels a sense of ownership over, and that are molded around their rituals, aspirations and lifestyle.”

PHOTO GALLERY (11 IMAGES)
📷 Courtesy of TPG Architecture

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Eric Feigenbaum is a recognized leader in the visual merchandising and store design industries with both domestic and international design experience. He served as corporate director of visual merchandising for Stern’s Department Store, a division of Federated Department Stores, from 1986 to 1995. After Stern’s, he assumed the position of director of visual merchandising for WalkerGroup/CNI, an architectural design firm in New York City. Feigenbaum was also an adjunct professor of Store Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and formerly served as the chair of the Visual Merchandising Department at LIM College (New York) from 2000 to 2015. In addition to being the New York Editor of VMSD magazine, Eric is also a founding member of PAVE (A Partnership for Planning and Visual Education). Currently, he is also president and director of creative services for his own retail design company, Embrace Design.

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