Johnston & Murphy

New York City
Posted March 23, 2000

Imagine a brand design that fits like a custom-made shoe -- that's the luxury feel of the New York City Johnston & Murphy flagship store. Jencen, the Cleveland-based architecture and retail design firm, wanted to portray a "saleable brand experience" on Manhattan's Madison Avenue, communicating the classic and quality image of the Johnston & Murphy brand. Headquartered in Nashville, Johnston & Murphy deals in a variety of upscale masculine offerings including apparel, ties, billfolds and belts. But it's the footwear that rules the roost. The company claims to have shod every U.S. president in the last 150 years.

The 3500-square-foot Madison Avenue store includes a massive, curved staircase with ornate iron railings that leads to a display area upstairs. How many stores have shrines to its customers? Museum cases on the mezzanine display artifacts, photographs, personal correspondence from prominent customers and reproductions of Johnston & Murphy footwear worn by the famous figures. Original murals by Atlanta artist Maxey Andress feature unmistakably male symbols that are meant to embody the masculine psyche. Wisdom, for example, is created in deep blue hues, "to evoke depth, trust and tranquility." It features a stag, an eye, an hourglass and the eternal flame. The store's combination of warm-colored fixturing, elegant and spacious drama and alluring art make the flagship more than a men's store. Johnston & Murphy is a gentlemen's store.

Client Project Team: Johnston & Murphy, Nashville -- Jeffrey Schenkel, vice president of retail; John Hardin, construction and facilities manager Design: Jencen, Cleveland -- Nicholas Zalany, partner and director of design; Irena Geglesky, project manager; Jennifer Hass, interior designer General Contractor: Libman, Wolfe, Couples Inc., New York City Murals: Maxey Andress, Atlanta Suppliers: AEI Music, Seattle (audio); The Wood Image, Lithonia, Ga. (fixturing); Monterey Carpets, Santa Ana, Calif. (carpeting); Kentucky Wood Floors, Louisville, Ky. (wood flooring); Loewenstein Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla. (chairs); Bernhardt Industries, Lenoir, N.C. (chair fabrics); Villa Lighting, St. Louis (lighting); Norwalk Furniture, Nashville (props and decoratives); Commercial Sign Co., Los Angeles (signage); Patton Wallcoverings, Columbus, Ohio (wallcoverings); Dye, Van, Mol and Lawrence, Nashville (museum case displays) Photography: Chun Y. Lai, New York City