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OMA unveils the transformation of Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue Flagship store

Tiffany & Co. and OMA have collaborated on a new vision for the brand’s iconic Fifth Avenue Flagship store in New York. The renovation reimagines the retail experience while preserving the historic identity of the original building. Construction on the project is currently underway and is on track to be completed in Spring 2022.

The project marks the first holistic renovation and preservation effort in the building’s 80-year history. OMA has collaborated with Tiffany & Co., on specific aspects of the transformation—including the re-imagined upper volume atop the building. This new addition (floors 8 to 10) of the 10-storey architectural icon located at 727 Fifth Avenue will become an exhibition, event, and clientelling space that meets the growing and diverse program needs of the brand.

The collaboration began with a close-look at the existing conditions of the multi-story retail to conceive a spectrum of interventions—from preservation to re-programing, renovation of the ground floor and reimagining how the top of the building is expressed. The reorganisation of program establishes a clear zoning throughout the building creating a more fluid circulation through and up the building. The top of the building is conceived as an addition that would provide a new dimension to Tiffany’s retail eco-system and speaks to the brand’s diversity of retail experiences. The multi-functional upper volume provides an infrastructure for Tiffany to expand their retail repertoire, large enough to accommodate the brand’s variety of events and activities. This distinct space will create a new facet to the brand’s identity that is communicated to the street and neighbourhood.

Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA said, “Tiffany’s 5th Avenue Flagship is more than a retail space, it is a destination with a public dimension. The new addition is informed by programmatic needs of the evolving brand—a gathering place that acts as a contemporary counterpart to the iconic ground level space and its activities. The floating volume over an existing terrace provides a clear visual cue to a vertical journey of diverse experiences throughout the building.”

The upper volume is divided into two spaces that are stacked but have the potential to work together. The top floor is encased by a slumped glass façade that takes cues from the corniced parapet of the original building. Unlike traditional curved glass which typically has two pieces of glass that are offset shapes of one another, the top floor façade combines flat and slumped glass, taking the two different qualities and leveraging their distinct advantages. The slumped glass is structurally favourable and requires less vertical support while creating a mirrored effect that provides privacy from the exterior. The flat low-e glass optimises energy performance while minimising reflections from the interior to preserve transparency for views out onto the city. The resulting façade, resembling a soft curtain, is an antidote to the harsh curtain walls of the building’s neighbours.

Floors 8 and 9 are a more efficient, with straight glass yet echo the volume above it, creating an additional column-free and double height space open to both sides of the building. Programmed for exhibition and events, the volume is recessed to provide a spacious outdoor terrace with views up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. The two spaces of the upper volume that make up the new addition is a moment of clear but complementary contrast to the original flagship. It is a symbolic ending to the building that reflects an evolved luxury experience that is more a journey than a destination.

Tiffany & Co.’s retail operations will continue in the adjacent 6 East 57th Street location until the original flagship’s completion in Spring 2022.

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