Excerpt from VMSD
On one of the Big Apple’s busiest shopping thoroughfares, the 85-foot-tall façade of Hublot’s recently opened New York flagship on Fifth Avenue beckons, sparkling like the bands on its prestigious watches. Customers enter through a single-height ground floor where the exterior’s watch link pattern continues onto the underside of the foyer ceiling.
Farther in, the store opens up to a double-height ceiling and showcases sleek, masculine interior materials like charcoal-toned fabric wall panels and steel fixtures. Vitrine lighting reaches to the ceiling, emphasizing its extravagant height. Glass casework protects the merchandise while creating an airy feel, and smoked mirrors cover the entire back wall to make the space feel larger.
To conceive a more updated look and feel compared to Hublot’s other New York location on Madison Avenue, the retailer tapped Peter Marino Architect (New York), CallisonRTKL (Baltimore) and the New York-based retail division of Shawmut Design and Construction to complete the new store’s design and construction. The process was “highly collaborative,” says Greg Skalaski, vp of retail, Shawmut, with all four parties (including Hublot’s in-house team) working together throughout the process.
Located within a 19-foot-wide space between two other LVMH-owned buildings, the store was built from the ground up, which posed significant challenges, both in its small scale and in the site’s popularity. On such a busy block of Fifth Avenue, between 57th Street and Grand Army Plaza, people pass by the space on an almost-constant basis during the day, which meant that much of the construction had to take place at night.
Compared to other build-outs, this one was much more difficult due to the level of coordination needed to get the job done in the narrow space, explains Skalaski. “It was like choreographing a ballet – you’re telling these three workers to be on this side of the building, while seven are on the other side, so they can both perform their jobs efficiently,” he says. “And in retail, that’s really important because time is always of the essence … the quicker the store is open, the quicker they can start being what they are – merchants.”