Fixture Expression
Posted October 3, 2005

When Liz Claiborne decided to redesign its Mexx stores in the U.S., the fashion apparel company felt it needed a variety of fixtures to capture the spirit and youthful soul of its European brand.

The first set of Mexx stores that opened in 2003 were adaptations of the spaces in Europe. According to Ron Singler, associate principal at Callison (Seattle), Liz Claiborne wanted contrast and texture added to the spaces in order to differentiate them from competing white boxes.

"Just like the retailer's former brands Moustache and Emanuelle were coupled to create Mexx, we took the contrast of these two companies as the inspiration for the design," says Singler. "We built on the initial store design and added contrast and texture by putting different elements together."

The contrast started with the fixtures. Liz Claiborne felt those from the original concept had too much of a department store feel. The retailer retained Leggett & Platt Store Fixtures Group (Niles, Ill.) to produce fixtures that would add visual interest. To accomplish this project, Leggett & Platt used five of its branch companies to develop a complete program.

Instead of using the original simple nested tables, Callison designed thick and chunky white tables, typical of European style. To add contrast, the nested tables were made out of sheet metal.

"The contrast of these two is the embodiment of the idea," says Singler. "We worked with some of the original fixtures, but made them more interesting. If a fixture was painted wood to begin with, we added a metal piece. If it was metal, we added textured wood."

Another element that required updating was the glass cashwrap. Leggett & Platt used its Design Fabricators branch to develop a new prototype. The end result was a fixture that featured a thick Corian top with radiused edges. Glass mosaic tiles were used on the face of the cashwrap to create further contrast.

Client: Liz Claiborne Inc., New York

Design: Callison, Seattle
Ron Singler, associate principal

Architect: The Phillips Group, New York

General Contractor: Kovic Intl. Construction, Fairlawn, N.J.

Fixtures: Leggett & Platt Store Fixtures Group, Niles, Ill.
Design Fabricators (a Leggett & Platt Co.), Thornton, Colo. (freestanding fixtures, perimeter shelving, mirrors, cashwraps, backwraps, accessory wall, storefront millwork, fitting room doors and lighted platforms)
Garcy/Piedmont (a Leggett & Platt Co.), Piedmont, Ala. (perimeter metal items, metal work for the floor fixtures and lighted platforms, graphics and signholders)Capitol Hardware (a Leggett & Platt Co.), Niles, Mich. (recessed wall standards, stud adapters, surface-mounted standards and brackets)
Morgan Marshall (a Leggett & Platt Co.), Chicago Heights, Ill. (mobile stockroom shelving system)
Dann Dee Display Fixtures (a Leggett & Platt Co.), Niles, Ill. (tables and accessory items)

Photography: Bob Briskey, LaGrange, Ill.