Carlos Miele Flagship Store

New York, USA

Architectural Strategy


Asymptote's design for the new Manhattan flagship store for fashion designer Carlos Miele celebrates Miele's unique perspective and attitude toward design in his native country, Brazil. The design and architecture of the store embraces a culture that champions modern design while being steeped in traditional cultural rituals and aesthetics. These aspects of Miele's own work were the inspiration for the flagship, which is both a shopping environment and a sophisticated and sculpted backdrop on which to display. The architecture is a “place” for gathering, meandering and viewing, rituals that are set against a landscape that celebrates desire and the sensual. The architectural environment is a spatial narrative, centered primarily on an abstracted reading of what constitutes Brazilian culture, landscape and architecture, while also being a contemporary Manhattan experience situated on West 14th Street in what is now the quickly transforming Meat Packing District. The overall atmosphere of the space is shaped as much by the exuberant vivacity of Brazilian culture as it is by the coolness and precision afforded by new technological means of fabrication, reflected in both the clothes and architectural elements. This contemporary setting of seemingly disparate, but not irreconcilable opposites, influences and sets the stage for the presentation of Miele's oeuvre, creating a compelling spatial and visual experience. The environment is a deliberate insertion and provocation of not only the worlds of fashion, art and architecture but also a trans-urban meditation that merges the cultures of New York and Sao Paulo.


Physical Description


Asymptote's design for the Carlos Miele Flagship Store was decidedly conceived of as a bright open space utilizing a neutral palette of white and shades of pale green / green blue and gray all serving to foreground Miele's colorful clothing design. The interior space consists of two-tone, high-gloss epoxy flooring with imbedded neon and halogen lighting set beneath tempered glass rings. The curved, formed steel hanging displays that are cantilevered from the walls sit above lacquered bent plywood display units below. At the storefront window display areas, as well as the circular changing room environment, are backlit illuminated floor and walls using 3M diffusion film, plexiglas and fluorescent lighting. The ceiling, which is a contoured surface, is formed from a high-gloss, stretched, pvc-based material produced by Barrisol. The centerpiece of the store is a large floor-to-ceiling sculptural form that traverses the entire length of the interior space. This “alter” element is used for both seating and display and is fabricated from lacquer finished bent plywood over a rib and gusset sub-structure that was laser cut directly from CAD drawings and fabricated offsite. For both the design and fabrication of the curved forms and surfaces in the store, computer generated drawings and digital procedures were instrumental. Additionally, there are two Asymptote-produced video installations featuring digital art that have been integrated into the architecture of the store. Each piece celebrates an aspect of body and spatiality. These works are extensions of Asymptote's art projects recently included in Documenta XI and the Venice Biennale.


Date: 2003


Size: 540sqm


Location: New York, USA


Architect: Asymptote Architecture


Design: Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture


Project Director: Jill Leckner


DesignTeam: Noboru Ota, John Cleater, Jill Leckner


Peter Horner, Cathy Jones, Micheal Levy Bajar, Janghwan Cheon, Teresa Cheung, Mary Ellen Cooper, Shinichiro Himematsu, Michael Huang,

Lamia Jallad, Ana Sa, Markus Schnierle, Yasmin Shahamiri 


Client: Carlos Miele Brazil


Engineers: Kam Chiu, PE , Andre Tomas Chaszar, PE 


Lighting Design: Focus Lighting Inc. 


A/V Consultant: Ben Greenfield


Contractor:  Vanguard Construction & Development


Fabricator: 555 International