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Brief Published: 18 Jun 2014

Fragrance Retailer Highlights Architects


French fragrance retailer Frédéric Malle has collaborated with a range of avant-garde architects on a series of unusual perfume boutiques. The first opened on June 6 in New York, featuring a unique aesthetic created by American architect Steven Holl.

For the past 14 years, Malle has been seeking out the most interesting perfumers and sharing them through his fragrance label, Editions de Parfums. Now, as he explains: “My plan to open more free-standing stores around the world allows me to live my childhood dream: "publishing" the work of great architects in the form of Editions de Parfums stores.”

Malle gives the architects free rein in their design, requiring the inclusion of just three store trademarks: portraits of the perfumers whose products are available; a refrigerated cabinet to store merchandise; and smelling chambers to test the fragrances.

The store is located in Manhattan’s West Village, and is Holl’s first retail project. The walls and ceiling of the 400 sq ft space are lined with aluminium foam – an uncommon material that makes the room look like a giant metallic sponge. A walnut wood floor, as well as wooden display counters, an arching bench, and a semi-circular shelf, contrast against the material.

The ambience is enhanced by an intuitive lighting system created by French designer Hervé Descottes, which adjusts the store’s lighting in relation to exterior sunlight. There is also a circular garden at the back of the store for private gatherings.

Other boutiques are slated to open soon in Miami, Los Angeles and London.

For more on retail that appeals to the senses, see our reports Alluring Perfumeries and Future Store Environments.