Callison RYA creates a dynamic retail environment for the first international Bloomingdale’s store
Choice is everything, and Dubai’s latest retail debutant revels in offering shoppers choices by the elegant bucketload. The first international Bloomingdale’s stores, part of a venture between Al Tayer Insignia LLC and Macy’s, Inc, opened last month at the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping centres.
Von Mohr: Arabian references
Built with an investment of approximately Dhs 270 million, the stores’ design was conceived by Callison RYA Studio with direction from Jack Hruska, Bloomingdale’s US Executive Vice President of Creative Services. The final result features the merchandising and philosophy of the more-than-200-years-old Bloomingdale’s brand while making a nod to its location in Dubai.
The two Bloomingdale’s locations – a 146,000-sq ft, three-level apparel and accessories store and a 54,000-sq ft, one-level home store – serve to anchor The Dubai Mall. “There were two major challenges with this project,” explains John Von Mohr of Callison. “One was the physical plant of the building. This area of the mall was never intended to be an anchor store, but instead a series of specialty stores and an architectural entrance to the mall. Trying to achieve a clean, coherent circulation plan in a space with an irregular column grid, concrete shear walls and odd-shaped spaces (elliptical glass drum) was a huge challenge.
“The second challenge was to translate the Bloomingdales brand architecture to Dubai. The client, Al Tayer Insignia wanted a store that was iconic Bloomingdales and was international – to be anywhere in the world.”
Bloomingdale’s Dubai is designed to be a modern, international store that is not defined entirely by its location. Arabic influences are used as accents throughout the store as highlights, and the detailing throughout the stores is clean and simple. The use of finishes and furniture, rather than a focus on fixtures, ensures a warm and residential feel. Inspired by the flagship Bloomingdale’s store in Manhattan on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue and the West Coast flagship in San Francisco, Bloomingdale’s Dubai looks and feels contemporary, with splashes of decorative elements throughout both stores.
“We took what was best and iconic about the flagship store in Manhattan and translated it to this location. We added very subtle, abstract references to the ceiling as well as in women’s shoes, we added mashrabiya (decorative screens) that have an Arabic feel,” says Von Mohr.
The signature black-and-white checkerboard floors in crystallised marble and hand-blown glass chandeliers in the lingerie and swimwear segment reference the American counterpart. Some unique, opulent touches include a fountain at the heart of the home store and serpentine walls of glowing white acrylic that light up the women’s footwear department.
THE MAIN STORE
Located at The Atrium of The Dubai Mall, the Bloomingdale’s main store provides direct access to The Address Hotel and showcases an international brand portfolio of diverse luxury product categories across three floors. The ‘Drum’, an architectural feature that accentuates the height of The Atrium, provides a strong focal point that bathes the store in diffused natural light during the day.
“One of the principles we employed in thinking about this store was one of shallow departments to increase visibility and utilization of back walls,” says Von Mohr. “We also created strong architectural frames for the brands so we could capitalise on their personalisation but still retain Bloomingdales as the alpha brand.”
Bloomingdale’s personalised shopping service, At Your Service, is set in a black lacquered room, contrasted with white lacquer and eclectic furnishings. An array of food and beverage concepts are located throughout the main store: from the signature Forty Carrots for New York’s most favoured frozen yogurt since the 1970s; Elixir juice bar and a Bloomie’s Coffee bar.
The entire first floor of the main store is dedicated to women. Here a soft beige and natural-looking palette with porcelain flooring, bordered by black tones, provides a central navigation aisle across the entire floor. Natural marble and hornbeam wood flooring highlight the women’s designer area, with strong architectural frames creating boundaries for differentiation between brands. On the second floor, the men’s section is done up in a fusion of reclaimed timber, cerused oak and luster yarn carpets.
Prominent features of the main store are a dedicated fragrance hall clad in bevelled mirror, with accents of metallic lilac, the largest designer footwear department in the region; and a children’s world with interactive games, rides and toy machines.
FOR THE HOME
The home store, located a short distance away, also features the iconic Bloomingdale’s black and white checkerboard flooring. There are products for every room: from furniture, bedding, cookware, kitchen accessories, fine china, crystal, textiles to custom furnishings and decorative accessories.
An avenue of specialty shops, the Street of Shops, with a water fountain at its heart, draws people in to the Bloomingdale’s home store. The street starts off with gastronomic treats: the first international Magnolia Bakery renowned for cupcakes, Bloomie’s Ice Cream, a lifestyle concept of custom-blended and fragrant teas from SalonTea. It progresses to books (from Assouline and Rizzoli New York), a travel store; and three dedicated gift stores including a selection of Bloomingdale’s keepsakes in the New York, New York store.
Founded in 1872, Bloomingdale’s is America’s only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store, a division of Macy’s, Inc. and currently operates 40 stores. Al Tayer Insignia is the largest luxury retailer in the Middle East.
WHAT’S IN STORE
Gifts and accessories
• Royale de Champagne
• Steuben Glass
• Micheal Aram
• Nada Debs
• Nitin Goyal
• Interior design studio
• Gift registry and gift wrap
• Calvin Klein Home
• Donna Karan
• Ralph Lauren Home
• Barbara Barry
• EJ Victor
• Ligne Roset
• Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams
• William Yeoward