Made in Manhattan

Godiva chocolate’s new flagship store in New York was created by d-ash design to focus on the luxury of chocolate in spite of design challenges

What is also known as the most expensive street in the world and can be found in Manhattan, New York, now houses Godiva’s new flagship store, created by d-ash design.

Located at 650 Fifth Avenue, the 1,024 square foot chocolate shop signals a return of the brand to the highstreet, where it opened its first boutique in 1972.

It is the first store in the US to feature Godiva’s global brand redesign, which will be implemented across 10 outlets across different cities worldwide. The revamp has been created by Linda Lombardi, vice president of global store design, Godiva and David Ashen, president, d-ash design.

The first of the Godiva boutiques to feature the new interiors concept created by d-ash design, opened in Istanbul’s Nisanti district in 2010.

The team, which included: Gabriel Centrella, senior manager, corporate store planning and global store design, Godiva Chocolatier; Leonard Barszap, project manager and senior designer, d-ash design; and Ned Lager, senior designer, d-ash design, started the initial concept development and planning in August 2010, with the store being completed a year later.

A modern and opulent interiors has been brought to life with the focus being on the luxuriousness of chocolates.

The look pays tribute to the Belgian heritage of Godiva, whilst creating a clean and modern look for the venue. The stunning street level window suggests the degree of detail both in Godiva’s decadent Belgian chocolate confections as well as in the décor of the flagship boutique that houses them.

The window to the shop allows people to catch a quick glimpse of the products inside and customers can enter the store through a detailed Iron Gate, which adds to the opulent atmosphere the team was trying to create.

“The brief for the outlet was to evolve the new design we had created for Godiva in Istanbul — which created a whole new shopping experience and merchandising strategy for the brand – into a flagship store that was worthy of Fifth Avenue,” said Ashen.

He said the concept was to create more of a connection to the product, by bringing in theatre at the storefront, sensuality in the shapes, colours and materials and connect more to the European/Belgian heritage. The aim of carrying out the redesign, with the focus on drama and chocolate, was to elevate the brand and customer experience.

“Our objective was to make the consumer feel totally surrounded, in a sense, not just by chocolate itself but by all the emotions that chocolate conjures — pleasure, indulgence, comfort. Everywhere you turn there’s a different way to enjoy Godiva, a different type of chocolate encounter,” added Ashen.

Upon entering the space, the customer is immediately shown a visual floor-to-ceiling menu of ultimate dessert truffles. The back-lit image introduces the customer to the latest product offerings at the back of the store, which the designers see as beneficial to pulling visitors in and encouraging them to take a look around.

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