Tiffany’s, established in 1837 by Charles Louis Tiffany, has gone on to become one of the world’s most revered jewelry brands. As the Fifth Avenue purveyor of fine jewelry begins work on a $250 million renovation of its New York flagship, it has opened the Blue Box Café, a destination for a prix fixe American breakfast, lunch or tea in a well-branded room bathed in the company’s proprietary and highly recognizable robin’s egg blue. Carrying a blue box down Fifth Avenue requires no logo or name tag. The color, christened by Tiffany’s legendary window designer Gene Moore, instantly says luxury, quality, and elegance. It says Tiffany’s.
Recognizing the powerful allure of food in its continuing effort to court today’s millennial luxury customer, the high-end retailer married tradition and elegance in a contemporary, yet timeless environment. The new epicurean hot spot has quickly become a go-to place for tourists and locals alike as they endeavor to immerse themselves in the Tiffany experience. One of the hottest tickets in town, reservations are difficult if not impossible to procure. So coveted is a table at the Blue Box, that foreigners typically book their reservations to dine before booking their airline flights to New York. The café, much like the store itself, has become a phenomenon and an international melting pot. As such, the international staff is fluent in several languages.
It’s iconic, traditional, world renowned and everyone wants a piece of it. People the world over have an emotional attachment to this place, flocking to its doors with visions of Holly Golightly in their minds. Fifteen to 20 people a day come in to the store dressed as Audrey Hepburn, all thinking they are the first ones to do so.
As fortune would have it, a friend with a bit of moxie, savvy and finagle, was able to secure a prime table in the now famous eatery. As I arrived, I was welcomed with a grouping of stunning white calla lilies perfectly positioned on every table, and amazonite walls laced with a meandering veining of robin’s egg blue. A set of mullioned windows grandly overlooked Fifth Avenue and Central Park, as patrons, some dressed for the affair, sat at engraved zinc tables adorned with original white Krakow bone china plates with a dipped blue glaze. The wait staff completed the color immersion with blue ties and aprons matching the Tiffany blue coasters on the table.
The culinary offerings range from avocado toast with radish, nasturtium, sorrel, sunflower seeds and sprouts to black bass crude with radish, fennel, espelette, and olive oil. I particularly enjoyed the Fifth Avenue Salad with Maine Lobster, paired with avocado and poppy seed dressing. All was topped with the Blue Box Celebration layer cake covered with an opulent blue icing.
Located on the 4th floor, The Blue Box also invites visitors to view Tiffany’s curated home collection on that level, featuring everything form luggage and ping pong paddles to bone china water bowls for the family dog. Instagram moments abound in the home department and in the café as everyone yearns to document their experience.
In the inimitable words of Ms. Golightly, “The only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing bad can ever happen to you there.”
Eric Feigenbaum is a recognized leader in the visual merchandising and store design industries with both domestic and international design experience. He served as corporate director of visual merchandising for Stern’s Department Store, a division of Federated Department Stores, from 1986 to 1995. After Stern’s, he assumed the position of director of visual merchandising for WalkerGroup/CNI, an architectural design firm in New York City. Feigenbaum was also an adjunct professor of Store Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and formerly served as the chair of the Visual Merchandising Department at LIM College (New York) from 2000 to 2015. In addition to being the Editorial Advisor/New York Editor of VMSD magazine, Eric is also a founding member of PAVE (A Partnership for Planning and Visual Education). Currently, he is also president and director of creative services for his own retail design company, Embrace Design.