Frame is the showcase of ‘the great indoors’, a fabulous title devoted to interior architecture in all of its different guises. The current issue gives substantial space to some of the most seductive and aesthetically beautiful architectural designs that aim to help coax retail out of its recessionary blues.
In amongst the many strong features on the newest designs for stores or retail buildings Michael Webb’s article, accompanied by Alberto Ferrero’s photographs, on a new luxury shoe store in Milan jumps off the page. As the article elaborates, Russian shoe brand Carlo Pazolini needed something very special for making a big splash in the design capital of Milan and designer Giorgio Borruso’s bold solution has certainly risen to the challenge.
Micahal Webb’s article reveals all the mechanisms at work when an arriviste Russian brand with some 150 retail outlets in the former Eastern bloc and absolutely no track record on the snobby Italian fashion scene brief a Los Angeles-based designer to stage their entrance onto the Milan luxury footwear map. A tall order indeed. But then again, former engineers turned fashion entrepreneurs Ilya and Marina Reznik have shown themselves to be highly adept at adaptation. Growing their Italian-made shoe retail empire like some leathery phoenix rising from the ashes of the former Soviet Union, they are indeed canny strategists. As unfolds in the article, meticulous research and a creative thinking were all in place for a long time before the specific decision to engage Borruso as the designer to deliver the final manifestation of their Milan debut.
If the results are anything to go by, then their decision to go with Giorgio Borruso also looks like it’s part of their ongoing record of impeccable strategy. The new store with its elegant historic facade on the fashionable Piazza Cordusio segues into an interior that plays clever games with the juxtaposition of monochromatic and colourful areas. Sweeping curves provide continuous lines that discreetly screen off the ‘backstage’ areas while maintaining a visual relationship with the unusual curved wood display areas designed to show off the brand’s products and the unusually curvaceous shape of the interior space itself.. For those with a more technically-minded interest in design, Webb’s article goes into full details.
Once again Frame selects exactly the right kind of project that not only grabs our attention because of its top-quality design, but also because of the interesting behind-the-scenes story that highlights the shifting contexts of design in the ever-changing European economic landscape. One of the very interesting aspects of this particular story, for example, is the total awareness with which both clients and designer have honestly and directly addressed the intrinsic snobberies of the luxury fashion market and set about rationally counteracting these through design.