This entry is striking as a floating ethereal presence on the site. It is clean and compact while also poetic and provocative. The choice for semi-transparency is both well-resolved and highly relevant in the context of fashion and textiles. The use of translucent polymer tubes as a stacking architectonic element presents both an innovative structural thesis as well as a poetic experience from both inside and outside the project. This envelope also reflects and reacts to the diverse program inside. Each portion of the façade is defined through the quantity of light desired, creating a unique gradient of translucency specific to each room function. Ultimately, the bundle of straws façade carries the potential for a provocative play of light within each space, evoking the sublimely airy work of artist Tara Donovan. To this end, as the visitor moves through a room, the light and view through the tubes would change with each step, establishing a subjective view in which no one space or view is exactly like another.
In addition to the central thesis of the façade, the spaces throughout are tidy and well-resolved. Although volumetrically simple, there are select moments throughout the project that allow for joy and exception. The triple-height library space, for example, is equally successful as a project within a project, poetically driving a triple-height core of books through the heart of the space. The semi-transparent façade also strengthens the runway space, in which we see a subtle reveal of the model’s silhouette before she emerges on the runway, thus venerating the central female figure of runway shows.
Finally, the project’s approach to context achieves a nice balance between the scale of the adjacent towers, train station, and multi-family residential. The rough volume as placed on site is a fitting size in order to participate in the city’s skyline while remaining elegant and light. Similarly, the choice to pull the building back from the street edge provides for some much-needed breathing room between the building and stacked street/train zone. The subtle yet beautiful play between the undulating roof terrace and ground floor public space provide two moments of respite from the rigidity of the structural tube system. The levitating volume is a symbolic and radiating entity, drawing people's curiosity and welcoming them through simple iconic entrances.