A 2,400-square-foot jewelry store located on Park Avenue in Midtown.




Manfredi Jewelry, an international jewelry store originally from Italy, opened its New York City location in Midtown in 2009. Given the store’s location on the fast-paced Park Avenue, we identified the primary concern guiding the design to be a change in speed, the slowing down necessary to view precious jewelry. Through site-specific and conceptual programming, we came up with a design for a transitional space to mediate this change in speed, to adjust one’s focus from distant to near. Modeled after a camera lens, the store’s glass facade enables focus on the backlit jewelry display, while also directing attention to the depth of field beyond.

As one crosses this threshold upon entering the store, the bright daylight outside fades into a soft, low-lit interior, and all sensory activity is brought into focus. Inspired by the idea of mise en abyme as a process of self-reflection induced by a recursive environment, the charcoal black interior palette, framed by a series of LED-lit glass panels, creates the illusion of a room within a room. The LED glass panels alternate colors throughout the day, and are calibrated to match the tones of gems used by Manfredi.

The interior display cases, made of steel lined with black leather, support a minimal arrangement of kaleidoscopic jewelry. The extraction of gems mined from precious rocks in the Earth inspired the feeling of a cavernous space, but also provided the impetus to use materials which are less damaging to the environment. The design uses black slate and steel on the walls, ceramic and faux leather on the floor, engineered wood for the millwork and steel for all showcases and furniture. The arrangement of lighting on the ceiling draws from constellation patterns, recalling ancient landscapes and the archaeology of gems.