Maison Bottega VenetaA return to Madison Avenue
The influence of the city’s beloved Lever House, Seagram Building, and IBM Building - which surround Maier’s midtown office - appears in the metallic sheen of brushed brass ceilings and metal display cubes. The silvery double height lobby extends upwards, skyscraper-like.
On New York’s eminent Madison Avenue, three 19th century redbrick townhouses rise. Exuding understated opulence, white awnings extend from each window like sails, saturated by the sun. This is Bottega Veneta Maison, the brand’s new flagship, and their largest store in the world, which stretches across half a block.
Designed by the brand’s creative director, Tomas Maier, the interiors of the three townhouses have been renovated to create one vast retail space, while the facade maintains its historical character. A lover of architecture, Maier has led Bottega Veneta for over 17 years, uniting a continuing respect for its origins with an uncluttered aesthetic. ‘Bottega Veneta’s first store outside Italy opened on this same street in 1972,’ Maier says. ‘It’s a kind of homecoming. It reflects the love I have for this city.’
This store is an ode to New York, which begins as soon as you step through the door. The influence of the city’s beloved Lever House, Seagram Building, and IBM Building – which surround Maier’s midtown office – appears in the metallic sheen of brushed brass ceilings and metal display cubes. The silvery double height lobby extends upwards, skyscraper-like. On higher floors, the spaces are flooded with warm light that’s reminiscent of the shaded avenues of Manhattan. The Pool Room at the old Four Seasons restaurant inspired the recurring use of a brass ball chain curtain, and the staircase of glass, stone, and metal shimmers like the skyline itself.
Throughout the store, light leads the eye. ‘Daylight is a luxury,’ says Maier. ‘The unique palette and quality of our workmanship really sing in the abundance of natural light here. Even the smallest feature, like the reflective embellishments of eyelets and studs, are enhanced.’ The trademark intrecciato design, which adorns many of their pieces, drinks it in too, enlivened by the morning haze or accentuated by dusk’s glow.
The Apartment is the most notable addition to the Maison. Amongst its ocean tones, patrons are free to revel in Bottega Veneta’s furniture collection, from soft wool rugs to plush intrecciato weaved sofa cushions. Maier personally curated all of the books, and the art collection is a collaboration between him and Robilant + Voena gallery, which focus on works by Italian artists, produced during the 60s and 70s. ‘Even in this very digitally-focussed world,’ Maier says, ‘to experience our brand’s vision to the fullest, it is best to experience the store in real life. The project is so personal; I love being able to show people something they haven’t seen before.’