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Marc Jacobs San Francisco

San Francisco, CA, 2000

Located near San Francisco’s Union Square, this project served as a prototype for future locations and a critical step in the evolution of the Marc Jacobs brand. The store - a single large space with additional service functions concealed at the rear and basement - has a classic formal distinction between served and service spaces.

The architectural strategy involved a sequential layering of program to establish a sense of threshold, procession, and rhythm. These thresholds provide the visual cues for continual alterations in tempo, some drawing the customer forward, others providing occasion to linger. The first such threshold is the storefront itself, with its grid of steel mullions anticipating the related pattern on the furthermost element in the sequence - already glimpsed from the street - the angled, luminous clerestory at the very rear. Through the interior, a series of intermediate thresholds is defined by the groupings of seating, the position of millwork, location of columns and beams, soffits, and transitions in flooring materials. Side walls are painted a neutral white, with strong lines of shelving that serve to draw the eye toward its natural resting place: the walnut-paneled rear wall with its back-lit, etched glass clerestory.

The storefront is visually open to maximize the connection to the street, in contrast to adjacent properties. Details balance the overall scale of the space and add a layer of visual interest: wood grain provides visual texture and scale, door pulls correspond to the hand, and metal trimwork and reveals provide the interface of material changes. Elements such as white plaster walls, black-stained oak flooring, and industrial rolling racks, custom fabricated in stainless steel, evolve from an existing brand iconography. This austere palette was intended to resist consumption and dating. This was balanced by a desire to create a higher sense of luxury and quality conveyed through proportion, materiality, and detailing that projected a specific quality of the fashion brand. It made a mark that would become a point of reference for future stores.

Seating and tables designed by Christian Liaigre.

Status: Built
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