EL PALACIO DE HIERRO
Wednesday 26 Dec 2012
The warm, elegant and inviting design of El Palacio de Hierro’s new two-story 215,000 square foot flagship store in Villahermosa, Mexico, reflects the luxurious and service-oriented shopping experience expected from Mexico’s most prestigious retailer.
The design includes all of the architectural features and display fixtures in all 32 retail departments, each with its own concept and centerpiece, and also features two expansive, striated white marble-clad mall entries and café. Villahermosa is nearly equidistant from Mexico City and Cancun, with a tropical monsoon climate and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico; designers selected finishes and materials that respond to and reflect the store’s locale, including marble, porcelain tile, bleached woods and glass.
An atrium with escalators and large scale video tower surrounded by luxury retail shops forms the heart of the ground floor (Planta Baja), and is itself surrounded by a collection of elliptical–shaped departments for women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories. The plan, which is configured as a series of rooms flowing into adjacent rooms without traditional aisles, is designed to encourage shoppers to move fluidly throughout the store. The design teases the customer by offering glimpses into adjacent boutiques and departments, tempting them with colors, textures and merchandise displays.
For the atrium at the core of the building, a dramatic, sculptural focal point was created. A collection of 480 curved satin aluminum fins, 12 feet tall and only 1/2” thick, are set around the perimeter of the atrium in three layers drawing the eye up to the dramatic skylight above. Each department features a freestanding, signature display, ranging from elegant antique brass and white marble in the women’s Gold boutique - reserved for high fashion and European designers - to cascading blue green art glass tiles suspended on stainless steel cables in Playa, which displays swimwear.
At Refuse, a freestanding boutique catering to young, urban fashions, raw and roughly textured materials were selected to evoke the brand’s spirit of youthful rebellion. Raw concrete block, polished concrete floors, galvanized steel and street art all complement the stained plywood displays and cash wrap covered in industrial felt. In contrast to the ground floor (Planta Baja), on the first floor (Primer Nivel) Men’s Fashion, Technology and other departments radiate out from a large elliptical center that showcases the Home/Furniture departments.
Among the many creative displays designed for this floor, the bedding department features a midnight blue painted ceiling resplendent with hundreds of tiny fiber optic lights evoking the starry night sky. An additional café, with outdoor terrace, is located on this level. A vast collection of display and merchandising components were created for Palacio, including: steel and glass “lily pad” tables and suspended glass shelves ganged up with monitor display archways in the shoe department and curved walls of linen laminated in glass for the lingerie department.
In support of local artists, artisans and fabricators, almost all of the architectural elements and custom retail display fixtures were produced by Mexican firms.