New York City
Posted March 23, 2000

The Takashimaya store on New York's Fifth Avenue has never attempted to fit the traditional retail mold. The Osaka-based retailer made its U.S. debut in 1958 as the first Japanese retailer in New York City. The store carries an eclectic mix of merchandise with moderate to high-end price tags, and continuity comes solely from the uniqueness of the items for sale.

The initial design experimented with the Japanese department store tradition, which designates the first two floors as gallery space. However, the 1997 renovation called for 3000 square feet of the gallery space to be converted into selling floor for the luggage and travel accessories.

The designer opted to continue the gallery theme, choosing an open grid system of ebonized ash shelves and low tables to display the larger luggage, and employing museum-like stained MDF vitrines lined with Hunan silk for the smaller articles, like watches and eyewear. Both fixed and free cabinetry were layered into the space, and free-floating partitions were used to subdivide the area and guide shoppers while maintaining an airy feel.

The existing track lighting system was relamped, and the existing maple flooring was stripped and restained and linen-bound sisal rugs were added to highlight merchandising areas.

The walls were used to subtly generate interest in an otherwise low-key environment. While some were painted solid neutral tones, others were given a faux finish emulating a loosely woven fabric.

Design: S. Russell Groves, New York City -- S. Russell Groves, principal-in-charge

General Contractor: Adelhardt Construction, Jamaica, N.Y.

Lighting Consultant: Renee Cooley Lighting Design Inc., New York City

Custom Wall Finish: Eve Ashcraft, New York City

Fixturing: Roe Woodworking (freestanding fixtures), Bellport, N.Y.

Flooring: Patterson, Flynn, Martin and Manges, New York City (linen bound sisal rugs)

Photogrpahy: Peter Mauss/Esto, Mamaroneck, N.Y.