Bringing Louis Vuitton’s menswear store in Miami to life is a Marcel Wanders’ designed sculptural façade created with 5,000 square feet of perforated aluminum.
As the French luxury brand’s second free-standing store after Toyko, the new 3,500 square foot destination in the heart of Miami’s Design District is the Metal Construction Association first place Design Award winner in the ornamental category.
Offering some history on the international designer’s original “Diamond Screen” motif which the façade design is based on, Marcel Wanders Design Studio’s Creative Director Gabriele Chiave explained to Dezeen Contributing Editor Jenna McNight that the original hexagonal-shaped module was taken from the leather straps of the high-end retailer’s iconic bags.
While the Diamond Screen design has been used as a room divider in a number of Louis Vuitton stores, its application as a large-scale architectural façade is a first.
The perforated white lattice façade incorporates the signature Louis Vuitton monogram and protruding geometrical boxes, which create a dynamic frontage wrapping around the corner of the building. A 30-centimeter gap between the metal screen and the building’s exterior wall presents a dynamic expression of light and shadow.
“When sunlight hits the building, the shadow of the metal facade drops into the wall, creating a shadow effect of the pattern,” said Chiave. “This shadow creates a beautiful illusion of depth, or a second skin.”
At night, the interior light emanating from the store adds another layer of depth to the three-dimensional façade.
Due to the latticework’s perforated nature, the right material was required to pull off the design. As explained by Alison Gladkowski, a marketing specialist with McGrath in the company’s 2022 MCA Design Award application, perforations inherently weaken a material as pieces are punched out of a larger section and held together by a smaller surface area. Consequently, the selected material had to be strong enough to hold its shape and stability in addition to withstanding Florida’s corrosive costal weather.
“Metal was selected for this project because of the strength, durability, and customization options of the material,” said Gladkowski. “Metal was also a great choice because it mixed well with the other material textures of the building which included brick, leather, paint, and strategic back-lighting.”
MG McGrath fabricated and installed the perforated metal, finished in “Simply White” Kynar to blend in with Miami’s modernist architectural style. The plate panels were cut in-house on a 4,000 watt CNC fiber-optic laser to produce the one-of-a-kind design. MG McGrath also installed tracks for the facade backlighting and stainless-steel accent pieces. The entire installation took less than three months.
The boutique’s interior features exposed concrete, work from local artists, and blue leather handrails complimenting the retail displays of luxury bags, leather goods shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, and more.