Inside Diesel's Apartment-Style Flagship in New York
We love any excuse to shop up a storm, but a new breed of stylish boutiques are making us feel right at home. The famous fashion flagship has elevated the retail experience but Diesel has taken its state-of-the-art Madison store to new homely heights. The denim brand's artistic director, Nicola Formichetti, worked closely with architect Masamichi Katayama of award-winning interior design firm WonderWall to design the store's unique apartment concept. The home-like setting features a living room complete with Persian rugs, antique furniture, concrete flooring, wooden ceilings, and a space inspired by a wine cellar. Scroll down to read our chat with Masamichi about how the apartment concept came about.
MYDOMAINE: How did you devise the overall interior concept with Renzo Rosso and Nicola Formichetti?
MASAMICHI KATAYAMA: It was such a wonderful experience to work on this project with the Diesel team, especially with Renzo Rosso and Nicola Formichetti. I was so intrigued to know the story and how Diesel gained global popularity. Mr. Rosso’s personal vision toward the brand was quite personal and intimate, so from this, I was drawn to the idea of creating more of a salon than a retail outlet. After listening to all their stories, we decided to design the Madison store based on the keyword "apartment." I wanted to see how it would turn out. Both the ordinary and extraordinary elements of life have been fused together here; I wanted people to feel so intimate and comfortable being here, while adding a strong identity.
MD: What was it like working with Nicola on this project?
MK: The process was quite unique. Our discussion was so organic, I don’t remember who said what. The concept was born so naturally. I guess nobody remembers who said what. I think this process can be seen throughout the store design. We had face-to-face meetings and telephone conferences, kind of in analog ways. We were busy, but this was a priority No. 1, as we had to think out Diesel’s future.
MD: Can you elaborate on the incredible cement mortar façade?
MK: The three-dimensional pattern of the store’s façade is a tribute to denim. We were inspired by the back “V” stitch of the brand’s iconic back pocket design, their history, sense of modernity, bravery, and unique point of view. This is our first time designing something like this, and it was a challenge, but I am confident that this embodies Diesel, and I’m proud of the details. This concrete material can be very classic and heavy, but it turned out feeling fresh and light, which was a pleasant surprise.
MD: Can you tell us more about the infinity mirror and why you added this?
MK: By using an infinity mirror, it changes the space from a material thing to add depth and a sense of distance. I like this little trick of space.
MD: The back of the store was inspired by a wine cellar, how does this relate to clothing?
MK: In the history of Diesel, denim is paramount; it’s the Diesel soul, they said. So we wanted to treat denim as a precious item. Based on the “apartment” concept, the wine cellar was a perfect match. So we designed a “denim temple” instore using the format of a wine cellar. We did a great deal of research on modern cellars, and the lighting effect needed to enhance clarity of the glass. The floor, wall, and ceiling is made of stainless steel and glass with beautiful lighting.
MD: There is a real industrial element that's softened by Persian rugs; was this deliberate?
MK: This is in line with the “apartment” theme. The rug was used to enhance that living room feeling. We chose a vintage rug because we were exploring a textured material that juxtaposes the hard mortar materials.
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