The largest and most influential American metropolis, New York has always been known for its iconic buildings and skyscrapers. Fifth Avenue, in particular, is an iconic landmark where various retail stores can be seen. Just like the skyscrapers donning architectural beauty that can be both timeless and modern, these retail stores are also recognized for the modern designs that reflect both the city’s booming atmosphere and the brand’s taste. In this list are some of the architects responsible for iconic structures like the well-known glass-clad Apple stores in the city.
Aside from reputations carved by years of experience in dealing with detailed and complex architecture, most of these architects have a collection of awards and features in both national and international publications. These architects are also members of well-known industry organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Retail Design Institute, and have LEED accredited professionals in their teams.
Christian Lahoude Studio
102 West 14th Street FL2, New York, NY 10011
Focused on designing high-end retail environments worldwide, Christian Lahoude Studio has completed over 100 projects in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Since its establishment in 2012, it has done work for clients like Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, and Harrys of London, among many other high-profile clients. Among these projects, its most notable one is its work on Jimmy Choo’s flagship store in New York. Featuring an open floor plan that extends 1,325 square feet, this store’s most notable feature is the large skylight that floods the space with natural light and draws customers to the back of the store. Here, an exhibition space comprising a sunken glass mezzanine and gallery wall was used as a canvas for art installations and creative collaborations that acknowledge Soho’s artistic heritage.
Christian Lahoude Studio has been featured in magazines like Architectural Record, Elle Decor, Harper’s Bazaar, Archinect, and Vogue Paris. These features go hand in hand with awards like the 2019 award for VMSD’s International Visual Competition, the 2018 Global Architecture & Design Awards’ Honorable Mention, and the 2017 Retail Design Institute Award for Excellence, among many others.
501 Madison Ave., 11th floor, New York, NY 10022
Established in 2010, Design Republic is known for specializing in corporate workspaces, retail, and media technology design. It has designed projects for over 200 world-class clients like Puma, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, and Fendi. Its most notable project is Puma’s first flagship store in North America. A two-story shop with 18,000 square feet of space, its windows are inspired by the classic Puma Suede sole pattern. Projects like these have expectedly earned the firm high praise.
In 2018, Interior Design magazine named it the #1 Rising Giant and it was an NYCxDesign Honoree. Alongside such praises, it was featured in several magazines like Forbes, Business Insider, Engineering News-Record (ENR), and 6Sqft among others. The firm has six principals almost all of whom are AIA members and certified LEED AP.
22 W. 19th St., Second Floor, New York, NY 10011
Originally known as FRCH Nelson Worldwide, this global brand was founded in 1968. Since then, it has been known for delivering architecture, interior design, graphic design, branding, and consulting services for all facets of the retail industry, from innovation to implementation. In the years of its work, FRCH Nelson has worked with Levi’s, Hush Puppies, Hershey’s, and Sephora. Its most notable one, however, is the Covergirl flagship store in Times Square. A two-level, 10,000 square foot store, it’s most famous for a sleek cosmetics hub that is immersive and interactive. Aside from a video booth where customers can make videos set to music, there are also interactive mirrors that use artificial intelligence to virtually try on Covergirl products. This project was named “The Most Experiential Retailer” by design:retail.
Projects like these have earned the firm more awards like a place in the VMSD’s 2020 and 2019 list of Top Retail Design firms, BD+C’s 2019 list of Top 150 Architecture firms, and a place in Insider Trends’ 2018 list of Top 50 Retail Design Agencies. Alongside such recognition, the firm has been featured in other magazines like Fortune, Archinect, Forbes, and Curbed.
665 Broadway, Suite #706, New York, NY 10012
A firm that has conceived and implemented large-scale retail developments since 1991, Gabellini Sheppard has done international collaborations with various fashion designers like David Yurman, Jil Sander, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, and many others. Since its establishment, the firm has been distinguished by its sculptural finesse with light, space, and materials. Among these beautiful spaces, its most notable one is the Vera Wang flagship boutique in New York. A 2,000 square foot environment designed to reflect the designer’s sensibility of elegant, performative luxury, this shop was inspired by the dynamic qualities of a white box theater. It has a few more notable features, but its most notable one is the full-width, white Corian grand stair that unfolds down the center of the store, transitioning into the more intimate display and changing area at the rear.
LED backlighting behind the individual white steps makes them appear to float at mid-air while translucent acrylic platforms allow the stairs to double as a display riser or seating for events. Over the years, the firm has created similarly beautiful projects that have earned it several awards like the AIA New York’s 2017 Excelsior Awards for Public Architecture Honor Award, the International Design Association (IIDA)’s 2017 Global Excellence Award, and the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA)’s National Design Award’s Merit Award. Alongside such recognition, the firm has been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Dwell, Wall Street Journal, and Architectural Digest.
1700 Broadway, Suite #400, New York, NY 10019
Gensler was founded in 1965. Within the following years, it has built up a client base that has stretched from America to Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. In such locations, the firm has been working with more than 3,500 active clients in almost every industry. This internationally recognized reputation has led to features in publications like Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal among many others. It has also won a plethora of awards and titles including a place in Building Design + Construction’s 2019 list of Top 125 Retail Architecture firms and several awards from the Retail Design Institute’s 2018 International Store Design Competition. These are just some of the firm’s many accolades.
Over the years, it has been known for making impeccably designed stores. Among these is its redesign on the Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York. A blend of Saks Fifth Avenue’s heritage and the architecture industry’s latest innovations, this retail structure is fitted with luxurious features like an OMA/Rem Koolhaas-designed escalator. To highlight the firm’s luxury branding, the aisles were designed to look like runways and highlight the custom terrazzo flooring along with transparent and opaque high-design fixtures.
Gertler & Wente Architects
145 West 30th Street, 11th Fl., New York, NY 10001
A 35-year old firm, Gertler & Wente Architects has 24 architects and interior designers who represent a wide range of backgrounds, design approaches, skills, and experiences with a commitment to pursuing a diverse body of work. This includes new construction, renovation, adaptive reuse, and interior architecture. The firm has worked with various clients including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Christian Dior, among a few high-profile names. Among its projects, its work on Turnbull & Asser’s flagship store in New York is a project that is definitely worth mentioning.
The firm was responsible for the conceptual design, architecture, and interior design, which includes all the fixtures, finishes, and furniture. The project also involved the gut renovation of all seven floors of a limestone commercial townhouse. These types of projects have earned the firm recognition from publications like Architect Magazine, The New York Times, Archinect, and 6Sqft.
180 Varick St # 424, New York, NY 10014
Combining architecture and interior design since 1995, this firm has worked with various clients including Calvin Klein, Frette, Neiman Marcus, and Holt Renfrew among other names. Among these projects, its collaboration with ALC Boutique is its most notable work in New York. A store with a bicoastal atmosphere and the reputation as the first brick-and-mortar shop for the women’s fashion brand, the shop features several wide, rounded archways that align with one another and provide a clear view from the front of the shop to the rear.
To capture the fashion designer’s New York roots, the architects preserved cast-iron columns and a large skylight found in the classic Soho storefront. This project has been featured in Dezeen, Vogue, and Cottages & Gardens. Alongside such magazines, the firm has also been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Architectural Digest.
Kenneth Park Architects
360 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017
Since 1989, Kenneth Park Architects has nurtured a reputation that has grown enough for the firm to provide services for the retail, commercial, and mixed-use architecture on a nationally and, occasionally, in an international level. It has been included in the 2019 list of Top Retail Design Firms and has been featured in the pages of Flaunt magazine, Vogue, 6Sqft, and Archinect among many other publications. This reputation has brought it high profile clients including Adidas, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Diane Von Furstenberg among many other brands who have witnessed the firm’s skill in designing innovative brand concepts and prototype designs.
Among these designs, its work on H&M’s largest flagship store is the most notable one. A four-story outpost that is 63,000 square feet wide, this brick and mortar structure is the largest H&M store in the world and has a 35-foot glass facade with an LCD screen, mirror, and terrazzo detailing alongside a 30-foot atrium. Projects like these are guided by experienced principals Kenneth Park and Robert Yuricic. Park serves as the founder and chief architect with over 30 years worth of experience providing architectural, development, and consulting services to international major retailers and developers. Yuricic meanwhile has over 25 years of experience working and managing some of the largest retail projects in New York City.
2 East Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10038
Mapos is a globally recognized and award-winning team of architects and designers who have honed their skills to design projects that reflect the firm’s modern and intimate designs. Since its establishment in 2008, Mapos has worked for Clinique, Sleep Studio, and Green Depot among many other brand names. Among these projects, it also worked on Korean beauty giant Innisfree’s Lexington Avenue branch—a store with a design that harmoniously combines the brand’s natural and light feel with New York’s theme of glamour, grit, bright lights, and scaffoldings. Centered around the theme of “The Island” placed in the middle of the store and lit by a cluster of 35 randomly placed and sized light spheres, the store’s lower half of the scaffold is entirely dedicated to the brand’s colorful products while the upper half serves as a deconstructed plant wall and abstracted cityscape.
There is also a crow’s nest that serves as an end to the exciting space and gives a view similar to that of one seen from the top of an island. Projects like these have given the firm recognition such as a place in VMSD’s 2020 and 2019 list of Top Retail Design Firms. Alongside this, the firm was also NYCxDesign’s 2019 Large Retail Honoree. In the same year, Mapos was a Special Mention Honoree for Architizer A+Awards. The firm has also been featured in several publications including The New York Times, Inc., Elle Decor Italia, and Architect Magazine among many other magazines.
Montroy DeMarco Architecture
99 Madison Avenue, 14th Fl., New York, NY 10016
Founded in 1990, Montroy DeMarco Architecture (MDA) is most distinguished for offering both design excellence and technical expertise. This skillset is reflected in the firm’s portfolio that features some of the most prominent commercial, retail, multi-family, workplace, hospitality, life sciences, and senior living projects completed in New York City and throughout the United States. MDA is affiliated with Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) which provides interior design services for the same markets, including the retail segment. Ranked by Building Design + Construction as the 133rd largest design firm in the U.S., it has been featured in publications like The New York Times, Interior Design, and Engineering News-Record (ENR) among many others. All this attention has gained it work with famous names like Zara, Jordache, CitizenM Hotels, and the U.S. Polo Assoc.
The firm has a plethora of impressive retail work, among it the Camper store at the Westfield World Trade Center Mall. At 650 square feet, this store represents MDA’s and MADGI’s creative and thoughtful approach to designing retail outlets. Complex projects like these are managed by principals Daniel Montroy, AIA, Richard J DeMarco, AIA, and Steven Andersen, who manages MADGI.
Rafael de Cárdenas / Architecture at Large
611 Broadway, Studio #627, New York, NY 10012
Previously a small office in Chinatown, Rafael de Cárdenas / Architecture at Large grew to become a seasoned resource for design vision and execution with wide-range projects in design for residential and commercial projects, interiors, temporary spaces, furniture, and integrated objects. Since 2006, the firm has worked with clients like Nike, Cartier, and Au Pont Rouge among other names. So far, its most notable work was done with Baccarat—a French manufacturer of fine crystal glassware. A 2,500 square foot store, it has a design that translates the formal properties of finely cut crystal into architecture. While the building’s facade is that of a bright, two-story glass-frit patterned with a triangular array that creates an illusion of three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional surface, its entryway’s walls are wrapped in faceted strips of Macassar ebony and mirror.
This geometry reflects the natural light from the facade as well as an array of tiered grand crystal chandeliers. The space is also infused with features that nod to classical French design like the diamond-patterned details in the wood flooring and ceiling molding. Designs like these have earned the firm features in a number of magazines which include Vogue Italia, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Vanity Fair France, and Architectural Digest.
RAND Engineering & Architecture
159 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001
A multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in both engineering and architecture, RAND Engineering & Architecture was established in 1987 to help owners, managers, and co-op and condo boards in keeping their buildings well-maintained, operating efficiently, and looking aesthetically pleasing. With this 100-person team, the firm has designed projects for clients like Buccellati, Journelle, Moncler, and Louis Leeman. One great example of the firm’s abilities is exhibited in its work on BoConcept’s flagship store in Madison, Manhattan. A 4,100 square foot retail space in a 42-story luxury residential tower, the space features wooden platforms, wooden slat and plank herringbone wall finishes, and a sandstone tile system.
Because of projects like this, RAND Engineering & Architecture has been recognized byENR New York as one of 2017’s Top Design Firms and has been featured in other publications like Wall Street Journal, Habitat magazine, The New York Times, and Architectural Digest.
Ronnette Riley Architect
494 Eighth Ave, 15th Flr., New York, NY 10001
Recognized for integrating both innovative and traditional materials and methods into intelligent, well-crafted spaces that set new standards for retail spaces, Ronnette Riley Architect participates in the designing of prototypes for subsequent Apple stores around the world. One of these can be found in New York’s Soho district. Built into a former post office, this 18,000 square foot interior space has custom-designed glass features—a 15-foot-high staircase, an indoor bridge, and a 70-foot-long skylight—features that echo the iconic design sensibility of Apple products. This innovative store has garnered several awards including AIA New York City’s Merit Award for Architecture and AIA New York State’s Excellence in Design Award among many other honors. Alongside such awards, the firm was also featured in several other publications like Architectural Record, The New York Times, BUILD Magazine, and in foreign publications like the Netherlands’ Pantheon, Ireland’s The Sunday Press, and Italy’s View magazine.
This recognition is thanks to the 33-year old, woman-owned firm’s reputation for providing constantly excellent projects for corporate environments, retail spaces, large institutional spaces, and private residences.
77 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007
A firm that has completed a diverse range of domestic and international projects, Slade Architecture has worked with various brands including Pepsi, Virgin Atlantic, Rockrose, and Renaissance Hotel among many other names. Over time, it has worked with more clients like Flight Club which had the firm design another flagship store in an existing loft building in New York City’s Greenwich Village. A clean space created within the existing shell of the loft building, the structure features a combination of urban recreational spaces and contemporary art that focuses on the same reflections of urban recreation.
With such projects, the firm has been featured in magazines like The New York Times, The Independent, Fast Company, and Surface magazine among other publications. Alongside these features, the firm has also been given various awards. Most recently, these include the 2018 Retail Design Institute Awards’ Innovative Concept Award and Soft Line Goods Award for its work on Flight Club LA.
65 Bleecker St., Penthouse, New York, NY 10012
Established in 1996, Studio Sofield has gathered enough experience to do various services including architecture, engineering and industrial design, to interior, graphic, and landscape design. The firm offers these services for projects in the residential and environmental design, to retail, corporate, and hospitality assignments, and exhibition designs. The firm has completed projects for clients like Gucci, Coach, Violet Grey, and Tom Ford.
Another high-profile name the company has worked for is Derek Lam. Found on Madison Avenue, this flagship store has a contemporary design with simple blonde and wood accents. After years of working on projects for various other clients, the firm has been featured in publications like Architectural Digest, the New York Post, Curbed NY, 6Sqft, and Forbes. It has also won the 2019 Honorable Mention for Porcelanosa’s Architecture and Design Awards.
55 Nassau Avenue, suite #2A1 Brooklyn, NY 11222
Retail interiors, commercial office design, single and multi-family designs, and cannabis dispensaries, are the base of this 14-year old architecture firm’s portfolio. Such work has received various awards and has been featured in over 75 publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Interior Design Magazine, and Fast Company among many other publications. Over the years, Tacklebox Architecture has worked with clients including Aesop, Claus Porto, and Kering, among many others. Among its many projects, its most notable one is its work on Claus Porto’s Manhattan store.
Carrying a design that pays homage to Portuguese architecture and craftsmanship, its most notable feature is a 40-foot long free-standing archway that has been inserted into the existing ground-floor storefront of an early 1800s building. This creates a portal through which visitors can immerse themselves in Claus Porto’s unique scents and its other store features that are reminiscent of Portuguese history. This store was honored with 14 international design awards including the 2019 NYCxDesign Award in the Retail category, AIA New York’s Merit Award, and was named as one of the top 10 most beautiful shops in 2018 by AD Magazine France.
31 Penn Plaza, 132 West 31st St., 5th Floor, New York, NY, 10001
Established in 1979, TPG Architecture is a design firm that has worked with names like Piaget, Ferrari, Kate Spade, and Birkenstock, among others. Over time, it has built up a portfolio of complex and beautiful projects. Among these is the most notable work on Piaget’s store design in New York. 15,000 square feet wide, the store carries a contemporary look that emulates a luminous home that envelopes visitors in hues of white, gold, and Piaget’s signature blue hue that flows through the boutique’s various sections—the Discovery area, Open Lounge, Precious Alcove, and VIP Lounge.
Radiant display cases, delicate wall coverings, and curved furniture are also some fine details that add to the store’s elegant atmosphere. Projects like these have earned the firm awards like two 2020 awards from the design:retail Spectrum competition. In the same year, the firm was also given several titles which include rankings in VMSD’s list of Top Retail Design Firms and in ENR’s list of the Top 500 among many other titles.
Tricarico Architecture and Design
502 Valley Rd., Wayne, NJ 07470
Founded in 1987, Tricarico Architecture and Design has completed over 15,000 high profile projects. These include projects for brands like Muji, Warby Parker, Foot Locker, and Levi’s among many other brand names.
Among these client projects, its work on the Valentino flagship store in New York is its most notable one. Projects like these have gained the firm rankings in various lists like Building Design + Construction’s 2019 list of top 125 Retail Architecture firms and VMSD’s 2018 list of Top Retail Design firms. It has also been featured in publications like Markets Insider, Interior Design, and Crain’s Detroit. Such recognition can be credited to a highly diverse team and a seasoned in-house M.E.P. department. Tricarico Architecture and Design is licensed in all 50 states and even in Puerto Rico.