Wide archways, vintage furniture and tropical plants feature in the first bricks-and-mortar shop for women’s fashion brand ALC, designed by American architecture firm Janson Goldstein. The ALC Soho store is located along Greene Street, alongside many other high-end clothing and design boutiques. Encompassing 3,000 square feet (278 square metres), the boutique is the first physical retail space for ALC – a ready-to-wear fashion label that was started in 2009 by Los Angeles-based designer Andrea Lieberman.
Lieberman was born in New York City and studied at Parsons School of Design. The designer travelled extensively and worked as a celebrity stylist prior to launching her own clothing company. The new shop, along with two others slated to open this year, represent her “ultimate vision” for ALC and enable her company to connect with its customers in person. All three stores are being designed by Janson Goldstein, a New York architecture studio.
“Each store is designed to draw from different parts of the brand’s heritage, playing into the designer’s bicoastal roots and world travels,” the architects said in a project description. “Understanding that the materiality and colour of the store were preeminent, we began by assembling a range of materials that ‘lived in the world’ she was looking to create.” The Soho boutique serves as the brand’s flagship location. The project was completed in four months, from the initial brief to opening day in April 2018.
For the narrow and deep space, the team created three distinct rooms, with the central space envisioned as a “more formal square”. The rooms are separated by wide, rounded archways that align with one another, providing a clear view from the front of the shop to the rear. Display areas carved into walls also feature an arched form. “By breaking up the space this way, ALC is able to tell different stories within their collection, and the customer is easily moved through a series of intimately proportioned spaces,” said architect Steve Scuro, a partner at Janson Goldstein.
To capture the fashion designer’s New York roots, the architects preserved certain elements found in the “classic Soho storefront”, such as cast-iron columns and a large skylight. Dark grey concrete tile flooring and vintage furniture that came from local shops are also meant to exude an East Coast feel. In contrast, light-toned finishes and decor are intended to denote the brand’s connection to the West Coast. Pink drapery was hung in the fitting room, and “off-green” wool rugs were placed on the sales floor. The space is also decorated with a range of potted tropical plants.
“California is represented by the softness of the forms, the lightness of the wall finish and the large travertine tables that ground the centre of the front room, which were fabricated in LA,” the team said. The two additional ALC shops will be located in New York and California. One boutique will be housed within a Bloomingdale’s department store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and the other will be located in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood in Los Angeles. Soho is a busy shopping destination, as many furniture and fashion brands have stores and showrooms in the area. Among the names to recently open there are Tom Dixon, Everlane, Menu and Casper.