05. May 2011

LED’s keep it cool
The Luisa via Roma boutique in Florenz/I undergoes complete renovation and is lit using LED technology

Text: Alison Ritter
Photos: Pietro Savorelli

Design does not always revolve solely around aesthetics and function, but in the fashion world these aspects are as crucial to the success of the garment as to the space or store in which the fashion items are displayed and sold. Fashion by its very nature changes with time. Colours, patterns, lengths, cuts and styles – all depending on new ideas, new inventions, new materials, new social contexts. If the items of clothing themselves are so subject to change, then clothing stores and boutiques have every right to change their image, ambience and sales message accordingly. But they have to ‘get it right’.

When Italian architect Claudio Nardi designed the Luisa store in via Roma in Florence, Italy back in 1984 he was definitely pleased with the result. Over 20 years later he was faced with the challenge of renovating the interior of the fashion boutique. New ideas were required, innovative ways of applying the latest lighting technology, new colours and materials were needed to create the kind of ambience that inspires 21st century shoppers to feel good and invest in new clothes. Luisa via Roma has had a facelift. The three-storey boutique is not only a chic retail space. It is also designed to be used for events, exhibitions and fashion shows. The inclusion of folding and sliding doors and free-standing display units mean that the store can be recon-figured literally within minutes. The newly developed spaces and volumes feature materials such as concrete, steel, Corian and tempered glass, providing an ultra cool, calm backdrop for the star of the show – fashion. The newly designed entrance takes the form of two large arched glazed openings, doing away with the conventional shop window plus door format. On entering one is inside a box – at least that is the initial impression. The room limits are clear and simple: an industrial concrete floor, wall panels, some in glass, others in enamel paint or Corian, and everywhere the glorious juxtaposition of minimalist design and funky through sophisticated fashion. Discreet linear LED luminaires recessed into the white plaster ceilings or concealed within the glass shelving generate a cold technical glow that in turn lends the space an almost surreal, other worldly atmosphere. […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 76

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