The Beverly Hills Prada Epicenter's most remarkable feature is the absence of a facade; the entire width of 50 feet along Rodeo Drive opens up to the street, without a traditional storefront or glass enclosure, inviting the public to enter the building.
Climatic separation is achieved through an environmentally responsive air-curtain system that profits from Los Angeles' pleasant weather. At night, an aluminum panel rises from the ground and hermetically seals the building.
Inside the store, a large wooden stair forms a "hill," a
counterpart to the "wave'" in the New York store, that supports an
aluminum box floating above the entrance.
The aluminum box is lined with a new material specifically
developed for Prada. Half matter, half air, the "sponge" provides a
porous artificial background for the merchandise and further
expands Prada's physical identity in its stores.
The stair is framed with laminated glass fading from translucent
to transparent, seemingly shrinking or enlarging the store's size
in response to the presence of customers.
A roof structure spanning the entire third floor admits daylight to the "scenario-space," where the merchandise is arranged on an open, flexible floor plan.
Roller tables and media gates form part of an airport-like
display installation that draws reference to today's omnipresent
security procedures. The character of the space is further defined
by a mural of wallpaper that allows for simple but radical change
of the environment. A soft curtain provides a flexible enclosure
and privacy for VIP and personal shopping.
A series of experiential and service-oriented features enhances both functioning and aura of the Prada stores. The dressing rooms are equipped with "magic mirrors": a plasma screen invisibly built into the large mirror surface that allows customers to see themselves both from the front and the back at the same time. An integrated time delay can even capture and replay movements. The doors are made of Privalite glass that the customer can switch from transparent to translucent and control the privacy of the dressing room.
Equipped with RFID (radio frequency identity) antennas, the "garment closet" is able to register merchandize brought into the dressing room and display an inventory of icons on a touch screen. Here, the customer can request more specific information on the clothes, but also browse through alternative items of the collection. On the web-site, the garment closet has its virtual counterpart, the "web-closet," that contains a history of all pieces tried on.
Facts about Prada Epicenter
Retail space: 14,750 ft2
Office for Metropolitan Architecture OMA-AMO
Sung Kim, Dan Michaelson
Brand+Allen Architects, San Francisco
Structure: Arup, Los Angeles
Last updated: December 17, 2012
North Adams, Massachusetts, USA