Brooklyn-based Associated Fabrication realized all the merchandise displays, benching, shelving, and cash wraps for Melissa Shoes in Pearl Gray Corian.
Before Kinky Boots came to Broadway, Melissa Shoes opened shop in SoHo. The Brazilian shoe brand, known for its use of brightly colored, recycled PVC material and collaborations with designers like Jason Wu, Vivienne Westwood, and Gareth Pugh, opened its first U.S. boutique in the states last year. With the help of local architecture firm Eight Inc. and Brooklyn-based Associated Fabrication, a distinguished aesthetic was achieved that supports the original Sao Paulo shop’s rotating art theme, but with a much cleaner slate of epoxy floors and Pearl Gray Corian bollard-like merchandise displays.
Working from two-dimensional drawings provided by the architects, Jeffrey Taras of Associated Fabrication used Rhino to model the 34 display platforms. Taras grouped the displays, which resemble blunted stalagmites, into categories of varying heights and configurations—single columns in four different heights, double columns in two groupings, and one cluster of three columns.
“A lot of this [project] was production engineering and breaking down the pieces into as few parts as possible to ease assembly,” explained Taras. “We also had to figure out how to break the pieces down to form the Corian the way it had to be done.”
Each stand is hollow and constructed from five different parts of thermal-formed Corian. The base radius is made from two pieces, the shell extrusion is also two pieces, and a single portion at the top completes the unit. Since a seamless connection between the pieces was necessary to achieve the aesthetic, there was almost not tolerance for error in the fabrication process.
After each stand was modeled in Rhino, the fabricators used a CNC milling machine to cut molds from plywood and medium density fiberboard. Taras created a single mold for the base ring components of all 34 stands and another uniform mold was created for the shell extrusions. Varying heights were achieved by trimming the extrusions. The caps, vary by diameter; the taller ones are smaller because of a more tapered extrusion, and the shorter ones are wider. Thus Taras created different molds for the top pieces of the varying heights. As each of the components was assembled, it was run through a trim jig to exactly meet the other seams.
“The most challenging units were the double units, and the combination of three stands spliced together,” Taras said. “We created a full piece assembly, created a custom jig for the CNC mill, and then cut out matching surfaces for each of the pieces that formed the units.” The jig was also designed in Rhino, and cut on the CNC mill.
The completed units were finely sanded and were placed as freestanding displays in the boutique. Associated Fabrication was also responsible for 18 small and six large shelves—affixed to the walls with a stainless steel pin and silicone—six mirror bases, 11 benches, and two cash wraps, all made from Corian. A new table is also currently being made for the space.