With the opening of the boutique on Via Montenapoleone in Milan, Dolce & Gabbana announce a global revolution of its own retail network. This marks the end of the concept store philosophy, with one model for the entire world, in favor of a new formula where emotion, dialog, diversity and cultural exchange come together in spaces that are stages, not shops, where experience and storytelling are the protagonists.
Milan, Porto Cervo, Capri, Tokyo, St. Barth, London, Brussels, Monte Carlo, Venice, Beijing, Los Angeles, and Dubai: the boutiques in these modern hubs for travel and international shopping will change radically. The idea of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is to take customers on a Grand Tour, following an ideal path on an imaginary journey where aesthetics and brand values are combined with the unique features, elements of excellence and cultures of each city.
Five architectural firms were involved: Storage Associati (Milan, Italy), Gwenael Nicolas’s Curiosity (Tokyo, Japan), Steven Harris (New York, USA), Marco Costanzi (Imola, Italy) and Eric Carlson’s Carbondale (Paris, France). The two designers initiated a dialogue with them to create radical and unusual perspectives for the brand and the location where the boutiques will stand.
Each boutique will be one of a kind: a unique stage where the Italian heritage of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana blends with the local cultures and elements of excellence. The idea is to build sets, not just architectural spaces, which place the spectator at the centre of a theatre, an experience in which he becomes a protagonist and interpreter.
From the radical, founding establishment of Milan to the sophisticated, airy holiday mood of Capri; from the ancient, monumental drama of Beijing to the tropical lounge feel of St. Barts; from the kabuki theatre in black and white with the imaginary shadows of Sicilian afternoons of Tokyo to the American-style Harry’s Bar of Los Angeles: the Grand Tour of Dolce&Gabbana’s new retail network is a journey where emotion, culture, experience and excellence come together with lightness and theatricality.
Everything revolves around two elements: green marble and briar-wood. The choice of the colour green, which is unusual for Dolce&Gabbana, comes from a long study of colours and their emotional impact. Green is the colour of chlorophyll and a symbol of rebirth that maintains its original connotations. Briar-wood is a symbol of strength and stability which does not change with time.
Gwenael Nicolas, founder of the Curiosity Architectural Studio, was asked to interpret the different souls of Dolce&Gabbana and to bring them to life with technological and creative spirit in one of the most prestigious 19th century aristocratic palazzos of Milan. The space blends baroque style and the sleek simplicity of modernism: this contrast becomes the ideal scenario for appreciating the sophistication of each garment and accessory on display. The white ceiling, reminiscent of the ‘60s, features lighting that illuminates the collections on display, making each garment unique and defining a strong contrast between the green marble and onyx. The lava stone floors are a classic Dolce&Gabbana element.
The ceiling on the top floor blends technology and classicism: three-dimensional metal panels create a pattern and descend with an automated mechanism to form special rooms within the space. The boutique has two floors for the womenswear collections, accessories, fine jewellery and watches, and one floor is dedicated to menswear. An imposing green marble staircase leads to the first floor, which is dedicated to menswear, and to the second floor that is home to eveningwear and jewellery. Green and onyx marble dominate the space, covering the floors and walls in two different shades of the colour and blending with the precious stucco reminiscent of the motifs used for Verdi opera sets. Large mirrors and gilded baroque furnishings are stunning elements that make an impact in the rooms.
The innovative design project establishes an emotional connection between the structure, product and materials through light effects, contrasts and special perspectives. The boutique, a unique and inimitable concept space realized for this city only, was designed by Gwenael Nicolas, the founder of Curiosity, which was asked to transport to the Orient the creative soul of Dolce&Gabbana and their Sicilian roots.
The boutique covers an area of 550 square meters. Both the architectural design and décor express Sicily’s distinctive and vibrant luminosity through chiaroscuro effects. The boutique is a space resembling a compact black volume lit by light projections that illuminate the displayed collections in regular intervals. The 400 projectors on the ceiling, move around, switching on and off, making the product burst with colour or remain in the shadow, giving the atmosphere of a sunny day.
The boutique houses the Menswear and Womenswear Collections, clothing and accessories distributed on two levels. The ground floor displays the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, accessories and small leather goods. The first floor is home to footwear, men’s sartorial and evening wear for the eccentric woman. There is also a space with a special design concept that displays the fine jewellery collection which is characterized by gold flooring, ceiling and furniture. The outside of the store is in Arabescato marble, which also covers the inside of the store windows and inserts in the display cases for small leather goods. Meanwhile, the majestic panel in front of the entrance with the Dolce&Gabbana sign is in black carnico marble. The floor of the boutique is tiled with black ceramic. The large gold staircase attracts attention like a huge candle at the centre of the space yet also transmits a sense of strength and confidence.
The Dolce&Gabbana Men’s and Women’s boutique, in the heart of Mayfair, is a journey of discovery through the immense creativity of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Six floors relate a dream, an emotion, a love story in a project with a unique concept, curated by Gwenael Nicolas, who was asked to transpose the soul of Dolce&Gabbana onto one of London’s most fabled streets: Old Bond Street.
The interiors are a poetic composition written in natural stone: the wonders of nature are celebrated in book- matched marble of various colours, origins and vein patterns. If the verses of this boutique-poem are the elegant black or white marble veining that traces its way across walls and floors in a harmonious continuum, the stanzas are the mirrors, console tables, seventeenth-century chairs, glass shelves, black walnut furniture, and the elegantly damasked stuccowork embellishing the walls. The stuccoed ceilings, embroidered with tiny spotlights giving continuity to the spaces, are the perfect crowing touch to this enchanting building.
Starting from the ground floor, which extends an invitation to begin an aesthetic journey leading to the upper floors, the space becomes increasingly intimate and secluded as you move deeper into this treasure chest, transforming into an exclusive setting for special customers, reserved for the sublime creations in the Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria, and Alta Gioielleria.
The fully restored exterior façade preserves the Baroque forms of the building’s heritage. It is characterized
by a series of running balconies in dark wrought iron on the different floors embellished with gilded fittings.
The Dolce&Gabbana boutique in Miami pays homage to the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, one of the most exclusive and historic temples of music and lyrics, and also one of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s favourite places.
A variety of elements help visitors to imagine the space as a real theatre stage. First, is the glass façade spanning both floors of the building with wavy movements and luminous reflections, recalling the curtains
of a theatre stage. Crossing the threshold of the grand and elegant entrance, Dolce&Gabbana’s world takes centre stage, exhibiting all collections surrounded by furnishings with Baroque mirrors, counters, and walnut furniture embellished with polished steel or gold velvet. Together with glass display counters and precious jewellery cases in a variety of colours, the ensemble is reminiscent of the spectacular set design of a theatrical play. Lastly, the ceilings are fitted with spotlights that illuminate Italian-crafted classical sculptures and busts in fiberglass, which rest on stone pedestals on the upper and ground floors, recalling theatre actors’ intent on playing their parts.
Designed by Gwenael Nicolas of Curiosity Studio, the two-story Dolce&Gabbana boutique appears as a solid block structure, with its unique identity harmonizing the architectural context of the Design District. The mix of polished and raw travertine and Veselve marble dominate the interior spaces of both floors, as well as the steps of the broad staircase that connects them. The materials used are similar in color, which are clear and grey tones, but differ in texture and thickness in order to emphasize the authenticity and naturalness of the stones used. The ground floor ceiling is finished in stucco, while the second floor ceiling is composed of a black grid accentuated with wooden beams. Two separate, yet united floors exist thanks to five perforations on the upper level surrounded by glass balustrades that create a spatial connection with the lower level.
At 155 Mercer Street, in the vibrant Soho neighbourhood of New York, Dolce&Gabbana has opened its first-ever downtown boutique in an historic former fire station, whose 1854 façade has been completely restored to its original cast iron-style splendour.
The three-story shop is an architectural ode to the mingling of different personalities, tastes and styles; a shifting, multi-faceted space where linear lighting illuminates the rooms as if in a theatre.
In a world that is changing at the speed of light, where everything is transformed and subject to the laws of the internet, social media, and the culture of the Millennial generation, it is only fitting that nothing is immobile here. The staircase that connects the first floor of the boutique with the second is built to respond to the flow of the architectural spaces. The freestanding furniture elements, with panels in gold damask, are as easily movable as stage sets.