High style under the High Line

Integrated architecture and lightning transform Intermix’s newest store

The challenge to house the latest Intermix branch in a red brick, 80-year-old former warehouse space was unlike anything the design team had previously encountered.

«There it was —a full-scale set of train tracks overhead,» recalls architect Steve Scuro, who, with partner Mark Janson of New York-based JansonGoldstein Architects, and lighting design consultant Bill Schwinghammer, observed the future store at Gansevoort and Washington streets in New York’s Meatpacking District.

Their previous expertise in creating traffic-generating branch stores in other locales for the contemporary mid- to high-end apparel and accessories Intermix chain paced the design process that turned the 3,000-sq.-ft. space into a go-to destination for New York’s fickle fashionistas.

In this store, glittering, sinuous sculptural work of functional art disguises the length of track overhead and becomes a suspended frame for the selling floor. «We used the tracks in the ceiling, which is 18 ft. high, as a starting point for the entire design concept,» Scuro says. «The old High Line commercial rail service was decommissioned years ago. The section that served the building had been severed from the main exterior tracks, but remained intact and embedded within the building —and this is where we started.»

Scuro and Janson devised a 10-ft.-high curtain of 1,600 curved aluminum rods descending 8 ft. from the 18-ft. ceiling to disguise the train track and HVAC ducts, and shields the interior from the sun. Clipped together to form a glittering, mirror-polished ribbon, the rods become an encircling chandelier.

The ceiling was too high for Schwinghammer to install downlights to illuminate the rods’ and allow light to come through their small surface penetrations. «Our solution was uplighting,» he explains. «The front and back channels of the metal fixtures that display hanging apparel were customized to accept surface-mounted linear LED strip lights, placed end-to-end to appear as a continuous light strip.»

To supply the lumen output that was needed to reach the top of the rods, Schwinghammer’s choice was Optolums Ecoline 3000 °K strip producing 14.4 watts per foot. » [The] design created a dialogue between the screen and the lights,» Scuro observes.

This fixture also is used as uplighting at floor lev el between the metal display unit and the wall, and to illuminate the window displays. Across the top of the window are Litelab’s track-mounted luminaires with 39-watt metal halide lamps by Philips.

The original loading dock platform was left intact for the fitting rooms. A dropped ceiling panel of fumed European white oak with a custom gray stain has a 5-ft.-deep overhang containing Litelab’s recessed, low-voltage, three-lamp fixture with 10-watl LED adjustable lamps from the Philips Master LEDspot LVD series. Undershelf lighting for footwear and handbags is provided by Tokistars surface-mounted, low-voltage, linear channel LEDs, at 6 watts per foot. Three pendant fixtures created by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based light artist Bee Brittain are formed of connected lengths of LED tubes with brass fittings.

From train tracks to well-lit clothing racks, Intermix has made quite an illuminated impression in the Meatpacking District.

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