Nick Leith-Smith and Manolo Blahnik have continued their ongoing partnership with the unveiling of a new flagship in Singapore together with Asian retail specialists, The Bluebell Group. The latest store is located in the iconic Moshe Safdie designed, Marina Bay Sands hosting Asia’s largest collection of designer boutiques.
Nick consistently focuses on fusing the brand’s vision with reference to the local cultural architectural setting. The result is highly original spaces that speak of their locales. Marina Bay Sands’ 474-foot statement stand-alone boutique emphasises the traditional and modernist influences at play in Singapore, fundamentally celebrating it’s signature cultural and architectural duality; innovative modernity beset by colonial heritage.
Consistent contrasts between natural and industrial materials throughout the store pay homage to this cultural setting and emphasise the timelessness of the brand. The dark bronze linear frame forms a striking front to the store which is softened by natural bamboo interiors.
Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre was an inspiration at the heart of Nick’s fusion of modern industrial with colonial. Maison de Verre, translated as ‘House of Glass’ in 1932 became a milestone in modern architectural design. It included industrial and mechanical fixtures set against traditional style home furnishings all housed by a transparent façade. The honesty of materials, transparency of forms amplifies the feeling of space and the experimentation of industrial materials has been fed directly into Manolo Blahnik’s Singapore address. The layering of contrasting materials pays reference to a rich history and a diverse brand.
Nick emphasizes the scale of Marina Bay Sands’ surrounding architecture which called for a space with a very distinctive and assertive presence. To achieve this the store is framed in cubist metal and glass geometries with striking chequered flooring and in Nick’s words, ‘evoking that of an elegant colonial style veranda’. The combination of natural materials including bamboo and monochromatic floors create dynamic contrast to the modernist structural elements such as metal and dark bronzes creating a space that represents cultural complexity, breadth and history.
Neutral tones of cream, black and white are offset by the bright and exquisite materials that define Blahnik’s shoes and the vibrant colours of the elegantly upholstered furniture. The linear formation of bamboo and the central processional black carpeting dividing the space guides the customer inwards and creates well thought symmetry to consider the collections.