Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City
Cellar, Levels 1 and 2
Saks Store Planning and Gensler
Gensler and Saks Store Planning and Design teams blended the company’s classic heritage with modern aesthetics to reposition the iconic department store as the new standard of luxury shopping. Saks sought to convert the cellar storage area into a retail space and increase the size of the luxury handbag department on the main floor which resulted in the revolutionary migration of beauty to the second floor. In all, 174,523 square feet of space.
The cellar level is home to The Vault, which is a new destination for high-end jewelry and watches. The space includes vault doors, safety box-inspired sculptures, metal textures, and rich leather accents. Terrazzo flooring, complemented by colorful custom-made rugs, unite the cellar level with the two floors above. Saks’ iconic heritage is modernized on the first floor through powerful simplicity and architectural juxtaposition. Rich materiality and signature elements, such as folded metal origami-inspired tables and glass fixtures, surround customers as they enter the store and are guided down runway-inspired aisles. The three-story atrium space includes dedicated zones for launches, visual merchandising, pop-ups, and live performances. From the first floor, bold geometric light covers signal the beauty department on the second floor.
Reinforcing the New York flagship as a one-of-a-kind luxury destination, the design preserves and highlights neoclassical elements, such as the store’s Corinthian columns and plaster beams, which are emphasized by the integration of modern design details. Elements like metal, stone, and glass help unify the cellar, first, and second levels which also have an intentional gradation from dark to light as one’s eye ascends the feature floors.
This project received an INNOVATION AWARD for DIGITAL INTEGRATION.