The Store Scout | BARNEYS NEW YORK Downtown
BY KENNETH RICHARD
It isn’t often that one gets to truly go home again, but that is exactly what has happened to Barneys New York as the forward luxury retailer has returned to their original downtown store location in Chelsea. Launched a month ago, the store located on 7th Avenue between 16th Street and 17th Street marks the return of the store to the same block that the company was founded on in 1923.
The opening of our new Downtown flagship is a unique homecoming for Barneys New York. Born as a single brick and mortar location over 90 years ago, Barneys New York returns to the same New York City block as a modern 21st century retail force that will offer the downtown customer a unique and unprecedented customer experience.
The 55,000 square foot flagship, spanning five floors, was designed by New York-based architectural firm Steven Harris Architects, the same firm that worked on renovations at the Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills locations. The store includes men’s and women’s RTW, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, a Blind Barber barbershop, and a Freds restaurant.
The store’s central atrium features a stunning spiral staircase that provides views of the adjoining floors. The vast, sculptural stairs connect the lower foundation level to the third floor, and serves as an ode to the store design of the original Barneys that maintained an iconic presence through the late 1990’s. Black nero marble, carefully placed between the exterior and interior, marks the entry and becomes a dramatic display wall for jewelry. Biomorphic shaped tables made from granite and marble display a curated selection of leather goods and accessories.
In staying consistent with Madison and Beverly Hills, the Downtown flagship shares similar aesthetic elements, defined by sculptural, white textured walls designed with an abstract motif, white terrazzo flooring, and custom-designed cosmetic stools with polished stainless steel frames and cognac leather seats. Barneys partnered with barbershop and lifestyle brand Blind Barber to create a dedicated alcove space for men’s treatments such as shaves and haircuts, featuring the barber’s signature offerings as well as some elevated treatments that are exclusive to its Barneys outpost. The Blind Barber area will also serve beer and cocktails to bring a sense of camaraderie back to the barbershop.
To further elevate the shopping experience, Barneys is the first luxury retailer to launch iBeacon technology as a way to share rich multimedia content like videos, look books and designer interviews to inform and entertain the customer. Beacons throughout the store have the ability to deliver to a customer’s mobile device personalized recommendations of content from The Window, Barneys’ luxury editorial site, to users who choose to opt-in for this experience.
Barneys also built a custom clienteleing system, which uses customer-centric personalization that connects online and offline behaviors and preferences so that sales associates may better serve their clients. The clienteleing app is available on associates’ iPads, which are also used as mobile point-of-sale devices with Apple Pay.
The customer experience in this store runs parallel in importance to the design, product and historic location. We want the customer to feel as though anything is possible when they walk into the store. With the seamless integration of technology, our incredible staff, and a deep appreciation of our customer, we really do feel that everything is possible.
And to keep the possibilities physically full, the iconic Freds at Barneys New York has opened its first ever downtown location on the third floor. Executive Chef Mark Strausman is overseeing the modern Italian menu, taking inspiration from the Freds outposts in Madison, Beverly Hills and Chicago, but updating it with exclusive dishes to serve the downtown audience. The décor, similar to Freds in Beverly Hills, features marble tables, terrazzo floors and rosewood paneling. Uniforms for the restaurant service staff have been exclusively designed by New York-based designer and founder of ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo, Tony Melillo.
The retailer is keeping their philanthropic component alive, too, through a unique online charity auction with Christie’s auction house until March 22. Check out the “The Black Leather Jacket” program that will benefit The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Center and art-space White Columns.
It would appear that Barneys has once again become an exception; even Thomas Wolfe would have to admit that you can indeed go home again.
Architect | Steven Harris Architects
Founding Architect | Steven Harris
Designer | Lucien Rees Roberts
Executive Architect | Lalire March Architects
7th Avenue (between 16th Street and 17th Street)
New York, NY 10011
Mon-Sat: 10 AM – 7 PM
Sun: 11 AM – 7 PM