An Emotional Experience within Âme NY
Interior Architects Baranowitz + Kronenberg brings in contextual insights of the senses and infuses them into the storytelling of the jewelry brand Âme NY, not as an ‘add-on’, but rather holistically infused with the brand’s DNA.
“Material and philosophy should be symbiotic and bring about a synergic state of being. Place, culture, people and time are the bricks our projects are made of.”
Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz.
Recently awarded “Best international interior design studio” by Build awards, Baranowitz + Kronenberg consists of a group of talented architects and designers, all of whom have graduated from institutions around the globe, bringing their worldly cultural experience to their studio’s creative work activity.
The firm strongly believes in telling stories within spaces communicating it well and thus creating experiences that last longer than the initial impressions.
In 1999, when Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz founded the studio, their combined experiences meant they could apply their design solutions to projects of varying scales, from the micro to the macro.
This retail experience within an Âme store in New York is like nothing you have ever experienced. The brand was founded by Alex Popov to enable fashion-aware women to wear stylish diamond jewelry as part of their everyday look. Creative Director Elinor Avni cares passionately about designing diamond jewelry that’s ‘wearable’ and distinctive design aesthetic combines inspiration from the creative world with sleek geometric shapes. The retail experience is an extension of the brand philosophy, of elegance and subtle architecture, of keeping simplicity weaved into its interiors. It is an almost surreal retail atmosphere that speaks of something special that is waiting to be revealed; almost a magical ambiance that weaves its charm unknowingly.
SCALE talks to the designer’s Irene and Alon to understand their design inspirations.
- What was the client brief and how did B+K go beyond it through the display stands that have never been seen before?
Âme is a modern, fine diamond jewelry brand that uses lab-grown or ‘Âme-grown’ diamonds set in precious metals. With a consciousness towards nature and a mission to break new grounds within the industry, Âme wanted to create a retail experience worthy of the 21st Century – an inclusive store that elevates our spirits. Transcending fine diamond jewelry into the realm of lifestyle and every day, Elinor Avni’s jewelry not only has an inspiring story to tell but an authentic identity that captures our soul.
Responding to this brief, we focused on studying environments outside of the jewelry world, finding inspiration in sensory environments that touch, inspire and create emotional landscapes. Two environments intrigued us the most: one was nature-driven; the forest and the other culinary-driven.
Elevating our spirits and bringing us closer to nature and to the primal elements of life, forests are alluring and enticing to explore – we move through them intuitively, slowing down to engage with our surroundings. Culinary experiences have a great impact on our emotions too – they can touch and move us, inspire and teach us, and bring people and cultures together.
The store is inspired by both values, introduced in a subtle and abstract fashion with ample room for interpretation – it’s a very informal yet emotional and holistic retail experience. The forest informed the spatial quality of the store, while the culinary world inspired the intimate and personal moments while engaging with an object of desire. Contributing to that moment of magic are the cloches with their tech-driven opening mechanism – the two glass spheres slowly open, allowing for the jewelry to be served.
- What is the relation between material and the philosophy of high-end shopping achieved here?
Material and philosophy should be symbiotic and bring about a synergic state of being. Place, culture, people and time are the bricks our projects are made of. While developing Âme we were inspired by two distinctive worlds outside of the diamond industry yet by their very nature, embraced Âmes’ same values and beliefs.
For instance, the reflective surfaces of the store resonate with the spatial and sensorial qualities of our main sources of inspiration with reflections introducing a sense of the infinite, an ephemeral presence of borders and the multifaceted layering of reality. Then, there is the immediate context which is the cast-iron architecture of Soho that reminds us of an industrial craft long gone that brings a sense of human proportion and care to space.
We wanted to bring these contextual insights inside the store and infuse them into the storytelling of Âme NY, not as an ‘add-on’, but rather holistically infused with the brand’s DNA.
- What has the feedback been from customers who frequent the shop? Do the materials used to make it more niche and thus more covetable?
We received amazing feedback from Âme about how surprised customers were with the whole experience when visiting the store. Most importantly, visitors felt great – they engaged with space and found themselves endlessly lingering amidst the display pods.
We envisioned that upon entering the store a sense of a surreal familiarity would spark intrigue, enticing visitors to move deeper into the ‘woods’. The meaning of the space should linger in the air while customers move intuitively amidst the enchanted cloches and soaring capsules. By then the surreal has become tangible, and the magic sparks a sea of emotions which they take home together with one of Elinor Avni’s no less magical pieces.
Pictures Courtesy: Amit Geron