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03.05.2012
Studio Visit> Jason Goldstein
A Manhattan-based collaborative firm helps to capture brand identity in retail design.
London Terrace Apartment, New York.
Mikiko Kikuyama

Janson Goldstein, a 20-person firm in a loft studio on Varick Street, aims to be one of the most trusted retail designers in the country, and by its roster of clients, including Calvin Klein Underwear, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the Breakers in Palm Beach, it seems to be succeeding. The firm works in a highly collaborative manner with the various departments within fashion companies, from design to merchandising teams, trying to capture the essence of the brand—both its heritage and its future target market. “We like to have these working sessions with all the departments,” said principal Mark Janson. “It creates a higher level of participation, and ultimately a better end result. It’s not design by committee–it’s getting everyone to articulate the problems we need to solve through design.”

In addition to the icons above, the firm is currently designing two new department stores for the Canadian luxury retailer Holt Renfrew and retooling the retail boutique Intermix, among other projects. “I think the reason we have so many of these clients and often work with them for years is that we really try to see the whole picture of who they are and who their customer is,” Janson said. For Saks, they are re-conceiving the all-important ground-floor experience.

While retail has been a significant segment of the firm’s work for nearly 20 years, they have recently also completed hospitality and residential projects that they see as standouts in the evolution of the firm: the first Andaz hotel in Los Angeles and a penthouse apartment in New York’s historic London Terrace. “Even though the last three years have been difficult for everyone in architecture, we’ve seen some of our most significant projects come to fruition,” Janson said.


 
 

CK Underwear Soho

New York, New York

The architects designed a retail system for Hong Kong to be installed in freestanding stores or within department stores, and it is being rolled out around the world, including in Soho, the first in the United States. The men’s products are stacked in vertical columns, while the women’s are hung in illuminated vitrines to showcase the more delicate and transparent materials. An accent wall of reflective stainless-steel tiles with indentations gives the space a kinetic feel, with ever-changing patterns of bounced light and distorted forms.


 
 

London Terrace Apartment

New York, New York

To a penthouse with terraces on three sides, the firm added 15 pairs of French doors where once there had been mostly windows in this 2,600-square-foot apartment in Chelsea. “We wanted to bring a modern sensibility to this prewar apartment,” Janson said. In addition to the architecture, the firm worked with the owners—who are avid collectors—on the interior design, which balances modern and traditional elements. The living area is a warm, light color with a geometric patterned rug, while the library has darker walls appropriate for a more intimate feel.


Courtesy ARX Solutions
 

1200 NW New Hampshire Ave.

Washington, D.C.

Janson Goldstein was hired to add a ground-level retail or hospitality space to enliven the plaza of this mid-century office building. The glass volume features a triple-laminated mirror chrome frit on the upper panels of the street-level facade to add visual variety—during the day and at night—and to animate the space within. The lower panels are completely transparent. The firm is also redesigning the building’s lobby to give it a more contemporary, high-end look.


Courtesy Jason Goldstein
 

Rocket Dog Studio and Offices

Los Angeles, CA

After designing a small New York space for Rocket Dog, a juniors and young women’s shoe company, the firm was asked to design a new 11,000-square-foot office, design studio, and showroom for the brand. While the product may be aimed at teenagers and younger women, the two-level studio and offices have a sophisticated neutral palette, including white oak throughout. Existing light wells will be converted into interior courtyards clad in teak with planters filled with bamboo.

Alan G. Brake