Monumental and weightless

A flagship store for fashion label Céline in Miami by Valerio Olgiati.

Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati’s designs are marked by an almost raw monumentality – they are block-like, archaic, reduced to basic shapes. In his recently completed flagship store for Parisian fashion house Céline in Miami however, Olgiati’s formal language has taken on an unexpectedly light and cheerful touch. The lightness of the rooms is achieved first and foremost through the extensive wall, ceiling and floor paneling in gorgeous Brazilian Pinta Verde marble, which has a cloud-like pattern and turquoise to light-blue color. Combined with the pale-red pillars, the material creates a tonal harmony that appears weightless and forms an exciting contrast to the monumental obelisk and pyramid shapes which can be found as recurring elements throughout the rooms. Above the staircase between the store’s two floors we thus find a canopy of sorts, which forms a large pyramid in the upper sales area. On the lower level of the store an obelisk-like structure has been installed, a tall cuboid topped by a pyramid, which appears as a negative form in the suspended ceiling. On the upper level, the pyramid then projects out of the floor as a positive form. (fap)