RECREATING THE GLAMOUR OF EARLY TRAVEL
For nearly 40 years, Pan Am’s legendary, transcontinental Flight 001 served as the prevailing definition of international chic. Originating in San Francisco, the flight included stops in such centers of sophistication as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Istanbul and London. Forty-six hours after take-off, the plane touched down in New York—the city in which John Sencion and Brad John, owners of Flight 001 retail outlets, opened their first Greenwich Village store in 1999. From the start, the retail partners wanted a space that recreated the glamour of Pan Am’s 1960s heyday.
Had Sencion and John enlisted the founder of Pan Am himself, they couldn’t have found a more appropriate man for the job than Antonioni, a designer with formal training in both aerospace engineering and industrial design. He started with a study of airport terminals and aircraft interiors from the 1960s, drawing inspiration from their sleek, mod lines. But he modernized the vibe, with curved, white ceilings and fuselage-inspired walls that display the retailer’s selection of goods. Surfaces are swathed in contemporary, sexy materials—like Pirelli tiles, walnut paneling and opaque Plexiglas.
And beneath the glimmering white surfaces, Antonioni gave the store a liberal shot of wit, including the cash wrap that mimics an airport ticket counter and storage compartments that look like the overhead bins on a 747. In a “baggage claim” zone, Flight 001’s selection of suitcases is displayed, while new accessories sit on shelves designed to look like porthole windows.
Today, Flight 001 is a veritable empire, with locations across the U.S. and beyond. From Chicago to Brooklyn, San Jose to Los Angeles, each store bears Antonioni’s design imprint. In San Francisco, a store-within-a-store, known as “Flight 001 Shuttle,” sits in the high-end department store Henri Bendel. And like the original flight itself, the Flight 001 retailer crosses oceans: In the United Arab Emirates, another Flight 001 store-within-a-store services customers of Harvey Nichols in Dubai.
Sample: Hobo Bags Showroom
When handbag company Hobo International, NYC, moved into a two-story penthouse across from the Empire State Building, they turned to Orange22 to transform the raw space into a chic, industrial showroom for multi-national buyers. The brief was short—but intense: They needed to accommodate several corporate accounts at one time. They needed a sprawling, new display system. And the deadline? Is yesterday unreasonable?
THE LIGHTHOUSE OF NEW YORK
Orange22 had it in the bag. After gutting the space, Antonioni’s first step was to turn an enormous, run-down skylight into a focal point as architecturally significant as its view: The Empire State Building—that “lighthouse of New York,” as architect Robert A. M. Stern put it—seems to crash right through the window. Antonioni didn’t waste any time, restoring the window to its original, pre-1920’s condition.
THROWING OPEN THE SPACE
White walls and floors throw open the environment, creating the illusion of expansive square footage, while billowing, translucent curtains heighten that sense of spaciousness. “[The space] has an expensive look,” says Toni Ray, Owner and Founder of Hobo Bags International, NYC, “and makes everything you own look expensive.” For the showroom’s display needs, Orange22 devised a new innovation, Pull—a patented, magnetic display system, now available for purchase at www.pullfixtures.com—which increased available display space by 400% for the company.
As for those multi-national customers, they tell Ray that the showroom feels comfortable, warm, and inviting. Which might have something to do with a sweeping staircase that invites buyers to ascend to a top-floor lounge, offering respite between appointments and unforgettable views of New York’s lighthouse. “Sales have been excellent,” says Ray. “Business has been excellent.”
Sample: PointB Travel Goods
Back when corporate execs were the only group that could afford to fly with frequency, the travel-goods market emerged to meet their needs. And since C-level execs are more comfortable making end-of-year statements than fashion statements, most travel products run a spectrum that starts with gray and ends in black. Today, travel is an affordable reality for a new set of fashion-forward jet-setters, but the market has yet to catch up.
People trade up their digital devices—from PDAs to cell phones and laptops—as happily as they upgrade to first-class seats. But travel bags haven’t adapted to the new shapes and sizes technology companies are launching every year, throughout the year. As industry races to roll out thinner, smaller, lighter digital devices, a travel bag’s compartment for last year’s cell phone is hardly appropriate for this year’s.
LINES THAT ZIG
Point B Travel Goods, for which Antonioni is currently identifying licensing partners, addresses both of those needs, first through the introduction of stylish forms and a kaleidoscopic range of colors. The products also provide heightened functionality. Based on explorations with materials and forms, Point B bags and totes provide an almost infinite array of flexible configurations—such that users can change each bag according to what it’s meant to hold. That translates to a line of travel totes that holds today’s technology as well as that of the future.
No one would argue with the fact that a straight line is the fastest way to get from Point A to B. But it’s safe to say that a straight line is also the least interesting way to get there. For those who relish the adventure of lines that zig and zag, Point B Travel Goods deliver. Watch for updates on availability in the coming months.
Sample: Sputnik Desk
In many ways, the Sputnik Computer Desk is the manifestation of Antonioni’s multi-faceted education. He crafted the sophisticated form you’d expect from a designer who studied at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, addressing practical end-user needs without sacrificing style. “People’s desks are so cluttered,” says Antonioni. “There’s never enough space to hold all the papers, chords and daily detritus. And that has a huge effect on people. If you get overwhelmed just by looking at your desk, imagine what it’ll feel like to work there.”
The Sputnik Desk, with its ample workspace, clears the clutter and, as a result, your mind, so you can knock off every item on that To Do List. The frosted-glass surface, rotating 20 degrees to the left or right, provides the perfect LCD viewing angle. A keyboard tray tucks out of sight when it’s not in use, while a powder-coated wiring basket organizes your chaos of chords.
A metal pedestal keeps your addictive communication devices at the ready when you need your fix—and out of the way when you don’t. But the desk would likely have an entirely different aesthetic if Antonioni had not also studied aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. The Sputnik Desk—made of steel, aluminum, glass, and Teflon—feels more like a space station than a workstation. And that has a way of making even the most tedious pile of work seem interesting. Featured in more than 50 magazines, from GQ to Interior Design, the Sputnik desk will catapult your productivity through the stratosphere. So go ahead, suit up.
Sample: Movado Concept Store
O, call back yesterday, bid time return
How do you give form to the ultimate abstraction? How do you measure a shapeless thing that measures us all? Time is gigantic—it exists in terms of zillions of light years, in terms of glaciers that carve mountains in the earth. And it’s infinitesimally small. It exists in milliseconds, or at the atomic level. Which is exactly the kind of challenge that sparks Antonioni’s interest. So he set out to devise a conceptual gallery space for the luxury watch brand, Movado, creating an architectural translation of time.
During a recent excursion through a collection of caverns in Arizona, Antonioni realized that the cave-like spaces, carved into the earth by floods over millennia, owe their astonishing beauty to the forces, and ravages, of time. So he headed to his Los Angeles studio, designing the journey through the Movado gallery space to begin as his own Arizonan explorations began—with a crack in a slab of precisely hewn slice of stone.
That opening, both mysterious and inviting, draws visitors along an undulating, sculptural tunnel. Gradually, the tunnel opens into a larger room, a retail space where Movado products are displayed, bought and sold. But as with geological formations whose twists open to ever more astonishing discoveries, a turn in the Movado space leads guests into another room, this one quiet and still, and dubbed the time chamber.
In the center of the room, a sun drum marks the passage of time. Wrapped around a wall of smoothly polished Carrera marble, a series of rings hold 60 of Movado’s high-end, limited-edition watches to denote the 60 seconds of a minute, the 60 minutes of an hour. “In those caves, you get the feeling that time has just—stopped,” says Antonioni. “It’s impossible not to be awed by that. And that sense of awe is exactly what I’m going for here.”