Tiffany & Co. and OMA have collaborated on a new vision for the brand’s iconic Fifth Avenue Flagship store. The renovation reimagines the retail experience while preserving the historic identity of the original building. Construction on the project is currently underway and is on track to be completed in Spring 2022.
The project marks the first holistic renovation and preservation effort in the building’s 80-year history. OMA has collaborated with Tiffany & Co., on specific aspects of the transformation— including the re-imagined upper volume atop the building. This new addition (floors 8 to 10) of the 10-story architectural icon located at 727 Fifth Avenue will become an exhibition, event and clienteling space that meets the growing and diverse program needs of the brand.
The collaboration began with a close-look at the existing conditions of the multi-story retail to conceive a spectrum of interventions—from preservation to reprograming, renovation of the ground floor and reimagining how the top of the building is expressed. The reorganization of program establishes a clear zoning throughout the building creating a more fluid circulation through and up the building. The top of the building is conceived as an addition that would provide a new dimension to Tiffany’s retail ecosystem and speaks to the brand’s diversity of retail experiences. The multi-functional upper volume provides an infrastructure for Tiffany to expand their retail repertoire, large enough to accommodate the brand’s variety of events and activities. This distinct space will create a new facet to the brand’s identity that is communicated to the street and neighborhood.
“The Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue flagship is arguably one of the most beloved and well known luxury retail spaces in the world. It's a place where so many have memories of important moments in their lives, filled with emotion and anticipation of the extraordinary,” said Reed Krakoff, Chief Artistic Officer, Tiffany & Co. “Tiffany’s newly transformed flagship will reflect the future of our brand, while honoring our 183-year legacy.”
OMA Partner Shohei Shigematsu said, “Tiffany’s 5th Avenue Flagship is more than a retail space, it is a destination with a public dimension. The new addition is informed by programmatic needs of the evolving brand—a gathering place that acts as a contemporary counterpart to the iconic ground level space and its activities. The floating volume over an existing terrace provides a clear visual cue to a vertical journey of diverse experiences throughout the building.”
The original 1940 Tiffany flagship designed by Cross & Cross was a symbol of modern architecture—its limestone façade distinguished with bands of continuous vertical windows. The existing upper structure was built in 1980 as an office space, closed off to customers and incongruent with the original architecture. The ambition for the new upper volume is to extend the vertical continuity of the existing structure for a gentle transition between the two structures while creating an element of newness at the top. Much like the brand’s identity, it balances pragmatism with sensuality, resolving both characteristics programmatically and formally.
The upper volume is divided into two spaces that are stacked but have the potential to work together. The top floor is encased by a slumped glass façade that takes cues from the corniced parapet of the original building. Unlike traditional curved glass which typically has two pieces of glass that are offset shapes of one another, the top floor façade combines flat and slumped glass, taking the two different qualities and leveraging their distinct advantages. The slumped glass is structurally favorable and requires less vertical support while creating a mirrored effect that provides privacy from the exterior. The flat low-e glass optimizes energy performance while minimizing reflections from the interior to preserve transparency for views out onto the city. The resulting façade, resembling a soft curtain, is an antidote to the harsh curtain walls of the building’s neighbors.
Floors 8 and 9 are a more efficient, with straight glass yet echo the volume above it, creating an additional column-free and double height space open to both sides of the building. Programmed for exhibition and events, the volume is recessed to provide a spacious outdoor terrace with views up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. The two spaces of the upper volume that make up the new addition is a moment of clear but complementary contrast to the original flagship. It is a symbolic ending to the building that reflects an evolved luxury experience that is more a journey than a destination.
Tiffany & Co.’s retail operations will continue in the adjacent 6 East 57th Street location until the original flagship’s completion in Spring 2022.
The project was designed by Partner Shohei Shigematsu with Associate Jake Forster and OMA New York.