31 in 31: #26

This is a series for August 2010 which documents my on-the-ground -- and on-the-webs -- research for my guidebook to contemporary NYC architecture (to be released next year by W. W. Norton). Archives can be found at the bottom of the post and via the 31 in 31 label.


Double glass doors cut into an otherwise blank brick wall barely hint at the stunning space for Longchamp on Spring Street in SoHo. Designed by Heatherwick Studio and completed in 2006, a "landscape stair" is the defining element that ties the ground floor with larger second floor above. Longchamp makes handbags, among other things, so appropriately the continuous treads appear to be made of leather (they are rubber on steel plate). Black posts and handrails are the only other major visual element occupying the space (beside the goods); the glass guardrails--fabricated the same way as car windshields--disappear at certain angles and create blurry reflections at other angles. All is skylit, like a luxury stairway to heaven. It is one of the best retail environments in Manhattan, because it finds inspiration in the product and fuses its expression with its function as an armature for displaying merchandise.

#1 - Phyto Universe
#2 - One Bryant Park
#3 - Pier 62 Carousel
#4 - Bronx River Art Center
#5 - The Pencil Factory
#6 - Westbeth Artists' Housing
#7 - 23 Beekman Place
#8 - Metal Shutter Houses
#9 - Bronx Box
#10 - American Academy of Arts and Letters
#11 - FDR Four Freedoms Park
#12 - One Madison Park
#13 - Pio Pio Restaurant
#14 - Queens West (Stage II)
#15 - 785 Eighth Avenue
#16 - Big BambĂș
#17 - Event Horizon
#18 - Murano
#19 - William Lescaze House
#20 - Morgan Library and Museum
#21 - MTA Flood Mitigation
#22 - Wilf Hall
#23 - Yohji Yamamoto
#24 - NYU Center for Academic and Spiritual Life
#25 - Nehemiah Spring Creek