WomenSTORE by Isa Stürm Urs Wolf
+41 44 211 29 54
The Weinberg women’s fashion boutique on Zurich‘s world famous Bahnhofstrasse is situated on the ground floor of a listed, 1960s bank building. Customers are treated to a breathtaking succession of individually designed open-plan spaces, which accommodate 20–30 fashion labels. Wandering through the themed areas, fashion-conscious women find inspiration and get gradually lured to a world filled with eye-catching collections.
The interior employs an orthogonal concept of space featuring ascending and descending plateaus with a movable platform. An arrangement of wooden furniture made from indigenous timbers is placed across terrazzo floors in colourful Venetian glasswork, which alternate with solid parquet flooring. The artificial sky under the baldachin in the back of the ground floor space is made from treated steel plates. The same material was used to coat the back wall in the basement area, where both floor and display wall received a consistently finished veneer cladding, thus achieving a strong visual coherence between both upstairs and downstairs spaces.
Raw, sand-coloured plastered walls and ceilings were used to integrate the interior architecture into the surroundings, while all-white surfaces and black holes create a perception of depth. The beautifully curved lines of the architectural details lend the Weinberg boutique its distinctive atmosphere and identity.
MenSTORE by Trix & Robert Haussmann
+41 44 211 29 50
The entrance to the store is not through a main doorway, but through a side entryway at the end of a hallway screened off from the main view. A structural emphasis is given to the threshold as a transcendental moment between outer and inner, away from the busy Bahnhofstrasse and into an intimate, immersive environment. A choreography of columns forms a rhythmic pattern in the depth of the tapered room. The entrance area hosts two large, lightly offset fragments of a narrow sequence of antique bows that appear almost casually placed. To the right, over the counter, one can see a row of truncated columns that lay out the fashion accessories like finds from an archaeological site in whose mirror elements the geometry of the space is illusionistically reflected, fractured, and stretched.
The Weinberg Men’s Store designed in 1981 by the architectural duo of Trix and Robert Haussmann is a sales environment that is arranged like a vivid stage. Which is why it’s no surprise that the spatial elements turn out upon closer inspection to be made of hardened plastic on whose surface Robert Haussmann himself painted a delicate, gestural trompe l’oeil camouflage pattern. The monumental weightiness and equally ponderous symbolism of the natural stone walls of the original building are only imitated and simulated in their essential aspects, and thereby lightly and cleverly circumvented. The seductive displays also offer an ironic, fractured reflection on selling and seduction, illusion and reality, a simulation which here proverbially preserves the empty space as a factual lie about content and function as it relates to the décor. From the outside one can see an elegant Terrarium containing a landscape that extends as if in an isometric drawing, and which is populated by window mannequins that look as if they were taken from a De Chirico painting.
Along the walls one finds the accoutrements, the actual main items, the clothing, arranged in drawers and in small insets, not on stands throughout the space as they usually are. Because of this empty space, the store is more like an old piazza that facilitates individual interactions, encounters, and events while at the same time enabling a withdrawal into more individual spaces through the niches created by the columns. Like Cedric Price’s never built “Fun Palace,” the Haussman’s interior architecture is not a “Strong Form” or constructed sculpture, rather a stage, which can be played on and possessed in many different ways, one which constantly reinterprets the space around it.