Luxury speciality retailer Barneys New York has completed its new downtown flagship in Chelsea.
The stunning store, on 7th Avenue between 16th Street and 17th Street, marks the return of the store to the same block that the company was founded on in 1923, and where it maintained an iconic presence through the late 1990’s. The store will occupy almost an entire city block giving a new presence to the 7th Avenue streetscape, and offering a unique and timeless luxury shopping experience for downtown customers.
Designed by award-winning New York-based architectural firm Steven Harris Architects, the new 55,000 sqft (5100 sqm) flagship, spanning five floors, will include men’s and women’s RTW, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, a Blind Barber barbershop, and a Freds restaurant, with a luxurious and modern aesthetic consistent with the Barneys New York brand.
While Barneys New York returns to its original roots, the architecture, technology, services and overall experience reflect the ever-evolving modern store it has become today. State of the art technology and mobile applications enhance the selling experience; beauty and shopping services will cater to those who value time as a luxury; and the restaurant is a nod to Freds on Madison Avenue, but with a menu all its own that emphasises drinks and small plates.
The Downtown flagship will carry “a curated and discerning edit of merchandise” for which Barneys New York is known, and will reflect a neighborhood luxury shopping experience.
Top designers such as Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent will be available, as well as XO “Exclusively Ours” brands such as Baraboux handbags, and fragrances from Douglas Little. The Downtown flagship will also launch exclusive capsule collections from Valentino, Alexander Wang, Elder Statesman, and Sidney Garber, among others.
“The opening of our new Downtown flagship is a unique homecoming for Barneys New York,” said Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee.
The flagship store’s design continues the partnership with Steven Harris Architects that began in early 2012 with renovations at the Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills locations.
“The store is completely unique compared to any other store downtown. It is subtle but inordinately luxurious,” said Steven Harris.
“We wanted to create a calm and tranquil environment with a neutral, but richly varied color palate that truly highlights the merchandise.”
The exterior of the Downtown flagship store is defined by the 170 foot stainless steel marquee running along the 7th Avenue facade and wrapping the corner of 16th Street. The store front provides ample space for Barneys’ world-renowned window displays, with two feature windows on 7th Avenue, and three additional windows providing views into the store.
A central atrium with a spiral staircase provides views of the adjoining floors and encourages shoppers to discover the space. The vast sculptural stair connects the lower Foundation level to the third floor, and serves as an ode to the store design of the original Barneys.
The atrium features glass with a custom abstract design of mirrored vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines inspired by Agnes Martin and Fred Sandback.The new flagship’s ground level will highlight men’s and women’s leather goods and accessories, as well as women’s fine jewellery. A volume of black nero marble, carefully placed between the exterior and interior, marks the entry and becomes a dramatic display wall for jewellery. Mirror polished stainless steel clad columns, evocative of John McCracken’s work, further open up the space, while hand rubbed brass accents add a level of warmth. Biomorphic shaped tables made from granite and marble display a curated selection of leather goods and accessories.
The Foundation level, housed one level below the ground level, will feature cosmetics, skincare, fragrances, and men’s grooming. In staying consistent with Madison and Beverly Hills, the Downtown flagship shares similar aesthetic elements, defined by sculptural white textured walls designed with an abstract motif, white terrazzo flooring, and custom-designed cosmetic stools with polished stainless steel frames and cognac leather seats.
Barneys partnered with barbershop and lifestyle brand Blind Barber to create a dedicated alcove space for men’s treatments such as shaves and haircuts, featuring the barber’s signature offerings as well as some elevated treatments that are exclusive to its Barneys outpost. The Blind Barber area will also serve beer and cocktails to bring a sense of camaraderie back to the barbershop.
On the second floor, women’s shoes and ready-to-wear will be featured. Shoes will be displayed against a rich backdrop of floor to ceiling marble. Lush upholstery fabrics such as mohair and velvet, paired with sculptural brass tables, provide customers with a luxurious and residential-like feel.
Men’s footwear and ready-to-wear can be found on the third floor, which is designed using darker earth tones such as moss, slate blue and camel. Sportswear, men’s furnishings, and accessories are illuminated by natural light for a modernized feel. Personal shopping suites will be on the fourth floor for a more private experience.
In conjunction with the Downtown store opening, Freds at Barneys New York will also open its first ever downtown location on the third floor of Barneys. Traditionally known as a power lunch destination, Freds at the Downtown flagship will also boast a menu of light bites and cocktails. Executive Chef Mark Strausman is overseeing the modern Italian menu, taking inspiration from the Freds outposts in Madison, Beverly Hills, and Chicago, but updating it with exclusive dishes to serve the downtown audience.
A 36 foot site-specific mural by Los Angeles-based painter Conor Thompson serves as a unique design focal point in the restaurant. In the panoramic oil painting, Thompson merges figurative and abstract elements into motifs of the dinner table and painter’s palette.
Upon entry, there is a 30 foot onyx marble bar and a custom faceted mirror on one side, with lounge seating on the opposite side. A more formal dining area can be found around the corner from the bar into the L-shaped restaurant. The decor, similar to Freds in Beverly Hills, will feature marble tables, terrazzo floors, and rosewood paneling.
Digital innovation and customer experience
To further elevate the shopping experience in the Downtown flagship, Barneys is using state-of-the-art technology to integrate digital aspects into the brick and mortar store.
Barneys is the first luxury retailer to launch iBeacon technology as a way to share rich multimedia content like videos, lookbooks and designer interviews to inform and entertain the customer. Beacons throughout the store have the ability to deliver to a customer’s mobile device to send personalised recommendations of content from The Window, Barneys’ luxury editorial site, to users who choose to opt-in for this experience. The use of iBeacon technology creates a seamless and efficient shopping experience for the knowledgeable Barneys customer.
Barneys also built a custom ‘clienteleing system’, which uses customer-centric personalisation that connects online and offline behaviors and preferences so that sales associates may better serve their clients. The ‘clienteleing’ app is available on associates’ iPads, which are also used as mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) devices with Apple Pay, the easy, secure and private way to pay with iPhone or Apple Watch. With this new feature, Barneys will be able to enhance the customer experience through highly-informed associates, better background information on brands and products of interest to each individual consumer, and ease of purchasing.
“The customer experience in this store runs parallel in importance to the design, product and historic location,” said Barneys New York COO, Daniella Vitale.
“We want the customer to feel as though anything is possible when they walk into the store. With the seamless integration of technology, our incredible staff, and a deep appreciation of our customer, we really do feel that everything is possible.”
In recent years Barneys has placed an increased focus on the digital experience. The recent redesign of its digital platforms – barneys.com, and thewindow.barneys.com – further demonstrate the brand’s position as the first luxury retailer to use responsive design, content, and consumer insights to bring a more personalised and editorially-driven experience to customers. As another method of optimising custom service, same day delivery is now available in Manhattan and select areas of Brooklyn.
- Images by Scott Frances.