An aesthetic confluence of geometric forms and grandeur mark the interiors of the new Manolo Blahnik store in London, designed by Nick Leith-Smith Architecture + Design.
An iconic shoe brand like Manolo Blahnik deserves a royal display. And regal grandeur cannot be avoided at the brand´s new London store that´s housed within Harrod´s fifth floor ´Shoe Heaven.´ A 42,000 sq ft salon dedicated to fine footwear, the store is resplendent in the architecture style of the virtuoso Austrian architect Josef Hoffman. Hoffman was one of the leading proponents of European Art Nouveau and one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, a group of artists, architects and designers who embraced a sensuous approach to the integration of craft, decoration and design. In true Hoffman style, the complete atmosphere of this store resembles a grand salon. The impression is of a large domestic space, evoking the interiors of a grand fin-de-siFcle mansion.
Inspiring the design
The Hoffman influence is immediately apparent, thanks to the strong geometric forms used to transform the ceiling, furniture, timber screens and display areas into a precisely engineered composition of vertical lines and diagonal forms. Shoes are presented on sliding library ladders that line the walls, as custom-built furniture mingles with vintage pieces.
The domestic qualities of the space are charged with refined geometry and rich colours, while the seductive sight of an array of Manolo Blahnik shoes fills the display shelves around the walls. These splashes of colour are echoed in the bold upholstery of the chairs and sofas. Nick Leith-Smith has used a selection of original Danish furniture from the early and mid-19th century to furnish the space. The collection of pieces was originally sourced by Manolo Blahnik himself and have been restored and re-holstered to suit the new design inspiration. Blahnik´s designs for silk lampshades and chandeliers, as well as the bespoke metalwork were crafted specially for the project.
Nick Leith-Smith Architects and Manolo Blahnik have created a dTcor that´s not only design-rich but also reflects the strong brand values and identity of this iconic shoe designer.
photos: Quintin Lake