A new store in the luxury Bal Harbor district in Miami – the Valextra leather goods and accessories label – selected US studio Aranda Lasch to design a space inspired by the spirit and materials of Milan, where the brand was founded in 1937.
The new sales outlet highlights a combination of marbles inextricably linked with the atmosphere of Milan, through a creative transposition into the luxuriant city of Florida.
Ceppo and Arzo
The project was inspired by the entrances to palaces in Milan, where gates, atriums and corridors connect interiors and exteriors in a combination of marble, metals, highly-prized woods and reflective surfaces. Visitors already encounter this touch of Milan outside the store: the façade is clad with Ceppo di Gre, the porous stone that especially characterises the wainscots of many palaces in Milan, which is also used for the store’s internal flooring. The leather collections are displayed on stone platforms of various sizes and heights, combining blocks of Arzo marble (the same material used in the Valextra store in Via Manzoni, Milan) arranged on light metal mesh supports painted with a reflective enamel. A long counter in the same marble covers one of the two side walls, with a metal coil for arranging displays of smaller products such as clutches and purses; on the other wall, marble shelves provide additional support for displaying goods on sale.
The rear wall of the store is characterised by a composition of overlapping geometric modules clad with laminated Alpi stone designed by Ettore Sottsass, which descend in the centre to create a V-shaped opening in a rear mirror. The atmosphere of the store is set off by a fabric ceiling that softens the effect of the spotlights, with attention to lighting worthy of a museum venue. Overall, simplicity in details highlights the value of the materials used, against a contemporary and refined setting designed to enhance small masterpieces of leatherwork exemplifying Milanese craftsmanship.
Refinement and abstraction
The combination of refinement and abstraction is made possible thanks to the use of natural stone. “The concept of the store emphasises craftsmanship with unexpected delicacy. The Italian natural stones we used are heavy but here they float on nets. Metal, a common industrial element, also becomes delicate here thanks to meticulous details. The bags standing on the pedestals evoke a fluid environment, as if these stone slabs were floating and consequently seem to be crossing a quarry. As for the high craftsmanship of Valextra products, the simplicity of details is associated with the strong impact of the materials.” This what Benjamin Aranda had to say – co-founder of the Aranda Lasch studio with bases in New York and Tucson, Arizona, directed by Aranda, Chris Lasch and Joaquin Bonifaz. The studio also completed the shop for designer Tom Ford in Miami’s Design District.
Project: Aranda Lasch
Collaborators: Berenblum Busch Architects, Viabizzuno
Location: Miami, Florida
Images: Robin Hill – www.arandalasch.com