The Second Valentino London Flagship Store is situated at 39 Old Bond Street, in the heart of the West End shopping district and in a streetscape characterized by a variety of buildings dating from diverse periods. The nearly 540 square metres (830 square metres including basement and fourth level) Woman Flagship Store opened in March 2016 and is composed of 6 levels, including the top floor dedicated to offices, tailoring and storage and the basement dedicated solely to storage. This new Valentino Flagship Store follows on from the First that is located on Sloane Street and marks another important step in the evolution of the Valentino Store Concept developed by DCA.
The Architecture of this Flagship Store becomes a more radical development of the Valentino Store Concept, proposing a new Façade that is fully integrated with the Interior. The Interior and Exterior Architecture generate a monolithic volume made of Venetian Terrazzo, the iconic material that is recurrent in the Valentino Stores and which here clads both Floors and Walls throughout the entire Store, while also embracing the Façade.
Externally, the Venetian Terrazzo plays with a three-dimensional frame in Portland Stone, while internally the Venetian Terrazzo Walls are overlaid with multiple and different skins, formed mainly of the same material and in some areas with alternative materials (Leather, Wood). The double layer Walling is used to hang a series of Displays derived from the Man Store Concept. This Concept merges the two main Store Concepts of Woman and Man, the former more heterogeneous and pronounced and the latter less heterogeneous and consistent, to form a single Concept that borrows reciprocally from the two.
The Accessorize Concept has been applied to the larger space at Ground level. A series of Marble Blocks and Marble Columns complete the trilithic structural systems, emphasizing the sculptural character of the spaces with a series of portals to create a sense of depth. Access from Old Bond Street is through an Oak clad vestibule, a sort of Wood Pronaos. The RTW Concept has been applied to the smaller areas at the First and Second level, while the VIP Concept has been employed for the Third level.
A hand crafted Oak Stair Block together with a Lift Block have been inserted into the Terrazzo Block to connect all levels and to characterize the spaces by breaking the continuity of the Terrazzo surfaces. While in the New York Fifth Avenue Flagship Store the Staircase guides customers into an extroverted ascending tour, in the Old Bond Street Flagship Store the Staircase carries customers along an introverted ascending and descending experience.
The building incorporates a new tectonic five-story Façade proposal, based on the idea of integrating rather than disengaging with the building context of Old Bond Street and is composed of two layers: the outer layer in natural Portland Stone and the inner layer in artificial Venetian Terrazzo. The Venetian Terrazzo layer consists of a series of well-proportioned openings framed by the layer of Portland Stone mouldings, emphasizing a more decorative Façade and providing consistency with the materiality of most of the buildings in the neighbourhood.
The Top Part of the Façade, a sort of Loggia, is characterized by a series of round, Portland Stone Columns to generate a crown that is reminiscent of the Attic typology that is quite prevalent in the surrounding area. Effectively, the Portland Elements together with the Terrazzo Mouldings form a sort of Typical Façade creating consistency with the Façade context but generating a clear reference to Valentino to become a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Old Bond Street elevations.
The Display Concept is inherited from the main Concept featuring Display Furniture hanging from the perimeter Walls. Oak Shelving and Hanging elements and are supported by polished Brass fixtures, while free standing Marble Blocks and Oak Showcases act as independent Display Furniture in the centre of the spaces.
Notwithstanding the various Concept developments, the Architecture and the Furniture are fully consistent with the other Valentino Boutiques, strengthening the desire of the Brand to propose a powerful image through the various Flagship Stores all over the world and demonstrating once again that these Flagship Stores are becoming less and less interior Projects and more and more exterior Projects that are truly complex and complete.