My Own Folly: the 5 Sense Brand

All this talk of silly things has reminded me of one of my own projects, a proposal for a small luxury shopping mall in Boston, destined to inhabit this rather dull little building across the street from Boston Common:

The studio I was in at the time could not have been more out of step with the times, as much as I loved it; we were tasked with creating a retail space for luxury brands in the Fall of 2008, just as everything was falling through the floor in the luxury market. Each of the 5 floors was to house a different brand relating to one of the senses. I'd been spending much time looking through 19th century French decorating catalogues in the Library of Congress collection (tipped off by Steven's father, a librarian at one of Brown's libraries), and developed a scheme referencing these bizarre tables:

The notion of dragging natural beauty into an interior, pulling-up the park to fill the drawing room, informed my idea of how to better join this lackluster building to the park beyond. I wanted a visceral connection, a sensual experience in the great tradition of garden follies, meant to be smelled, touched and tasted.

To that end, I focused all attention on the park and hid the first floor from the busy streetscape with a system of canted walls that collected light from above, while filling the windows of the upper story with espalier that follows and reinforces the lines of the mullions:

Entering off the main road, the first floor houses Other Music, a NY-based music shop featuring primarily indie music; they have a tradition of in-store performances, and to that end roll away carts hold CDs, while listening and downloading stations fill the niches created by the canted walls:

Now up the stairs, in a natural rust, with walls of mercury glass, topped with a glass-bottomed reservoir. Light filters through the water and bounces off the irregular glass on each floor:

The second floor houses a Boston chapter of C.B. I Hate Perfume, Brooklyn-based purveyor of exquisite scent. Many of the fragrances are based on the memories of the creator, Christian Brosius (quite a character, but a brilliant nose). Something very special was necessary. To that end, I developed hedges that you could reach into to find the various scent bottles, combining the joy of discovery with remembrance of times past through scent (thank you, Proust):

The hedges, visible as diagonal forms in the plans, were formed from macrame writ large, in a pattern I developed:

Other floors received similar treatment, with different patterns of macrame:

But I must admit, my favorite element is the mercury glass and rust stair:


Daniel-Halifax said...

this sounds spectacular!

and i love CB

Anonymous said...

I agree it does sound amazing. Glass is expensive though but I love to be in a tall building with tons of windows.

-Zane of ontario honey

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