PRADA NEW YORK, USA, NEW YORK, 2001
Prada Epicenter in New York
New York’s Prada Epicenter – an exclusive boutique, a public space, a gallery, a performance space, a laboratory – is part of OMA / AMO's ongoing research into shopping, arguably the last remaining form of public activity, and a strategy to counteract and destabilize any received notion of what Prada is, does, or will become.
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As museums, libraries, airports, hospitals, and schools become increasingly indistinguishable from shopping centres, their adoption of retail for survival has unleashed an enormous wave of commercial entrapment that has transformed museum-goers, researchers, travelers, patients, and students into customers. The result is a deadening loss of variety. What were once distinct activities no longer retain the uniqueness that gave them richness. What if the equation were reversed, so that customers were no longer identified as consumers, but recognized as researchers, students, patients, museum-goers? What if the shopping experience were not one of impoverishment, but of enrichment?

The New York Prada Epicenter is a conversion of a 23,000 square-foot space in SoHo formerly belonging to the Guggenheim museum. The Wave – a curving space scooped out of the ground floor and opening it up to the basement – is the main element facilitating experimentation in what a fashion store can be. On one side, the slope has steps – ostensibly for displaying shoes and accessories – that can be used as a seating area, facing a stage that unfolds from the other side of the wave. The store thus becomes a venue for film screenings, performances, and lectures.

The northern wall of the store runs uninterrupted between the entrances on Broadway and Mercer Street (which offer a new pedestrian link directly through the city block), and offers itself as a surface for a giant mural – the Prada wallpaper – that changes on a regular basis. The wallpaper defines a theme for an exhibition that infiltrates spaces throughout the store: videos on plasma screens hanging on railings between items of clothing, books piled next to shoes, interactive monitors.

Experimental technology, intriguing materials, and innovative display methods are utilized everywhere to enrich and transcend the shopping experience: customers touch a button to make the glass doors of the changing rooms opaque, and see their new clothes from various angles on video projections; a circular glass elevator serves as a display area for accessories as well as a means of transport to the basement; unfinished gypsum board walls on one side of the store contrast with a translucent polycarbonate wall overlaying the original brick structure on the other; movable large metal cages hang from the ceiling for the display of clothes; an all-white 'clinic' area contains VIP rooms and tailoring and catering facilities.

FACT SHEET
Project:
Prada Epicenter in New York

Client:
Prada (I.P.I. USA Corp.)

Year:
2000 commission, 2001 completed

Status:
Built

Type:
Retail

Location:
575 Broadway, New York

Site:
Groundfloor and basement of the former Broadway Guggenheim

Program:
Total area: 2,190m2




COLLABORATORS
Associate Architect:
ARO

Structure:
Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA)

Services:
Arup New York

Lighting:
Kugler Tillotson Associates

Material R&D:
Panelite / Werkplaats de Rijk

Acoustics:
Shen Milsom & Wilke

Curtains:
Inside Outside

Wallpaper:
2x4

Movable Furniture:
Seufert

PRESS
New York Times, 16 December 2001

Times Business, 28/09/01
Abitare #404, 03/01
Axis #7/8, 07/01
View, 09/01
Metropolis, 10/01
Avantgarde #9, 09/01
Uhmepbep #6, 2001
Intramuros #95, 07/01
San Fransisco Chronicle, 22/07/01
the Telegraph Magazine, 15/12/01
Time, 31/12/01
Los Angeles Times, 01/02
The New Yorker, 28/01/02
New York Post, 18/01/02
New York Magazine, 07/01/02
la Repubblica, 16/12/02
Vanity Fair, 01/02/02
Another Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2002
World Architecture #102, 01/02/02
Monitor Unlimited #19, 2003
Arena #139, 10/03
NRC Handelsblad, 24/10/03
AD art+decor, Apr. 2005
Vanity Fair, 10/06
CREDITS
Partners in charge:
Rem Koolhaas, Ole Scheeren

Project architects:
Timothy Archambault, Eric Chang

Team:
Ergian Alberg, Amale Andraos, Benjamin Beckers, Christina Chang, Chris van Duijn, Alain Fouraux, Jennifer Jones, Julia Lewis, Christiane Sauer, Markus Schaefer, Oliver von Spreckelsen


VISITS

Prada
575 Broadway, at Prince St. (SoHo), New York City
Take the N or R train to Prince St. or the F or V train to Broadway-Lafayette.

Store hours are 11am-7pm, Sundays 12-6pm.
+1 212 334 8888