«We want something that will be traditional and modern at the same time», that was the main indication I received from my clients, Creed family, for the design of their new boutique in Vienna.
Tradition and Modernity, for a brand wishing to give value to 250 years of existence, seemed legitimate. Still, theses two terms require interrogation and precision : what are the meanings of these words in the language of an owner of a perfume brand ? What do these cultural and historical notions mean in the context of luxury shop design ?
I could have simply asked my clients and find out their own postmodern understanding and taste of this rhetorical relation. Instead, I decided to refer to a historical moment and place in which this dialectic had all its meaning. I returned to the end of nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century Vienna, to Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann.
The thickness of the architectonic elements, the coffered ceilings, the presence of a classical order with columns in the interiors, as well as the use of monumental forms such as pyramids, are the signs of the continuity of a classical tradition coming from Antiquity. But these elements are never used in order to reform a unifying language, searching the revival of a classicist style. The traditional elements are brought into modernity in a very pragmatic manner. They don’t interfere with the functionality of the spaces. The expression of architecture is mostly due to the use of the «material’s own language» - the veins of the marble, the glares of glass or mirror, the assemblages of metal, create their own ornamental presence. The contrasts between the materials and the forms give the space a feeling of depth and physical comfort that is mostly dominant. The thickness of the marble and the monolithic forms are used in order to generate an interior which will generate a feeling of robustness and permanence, while the thinness of the metal elements give the impression of a fragile and precious decorum that is not meant to last. The interior can be perceived like an empty space excavated from a bloc of white marble, while, at the same time, the continuity of lines between the ground, the walls and the ceiling capture the eye and redraw the volumes on their surfaces.