Pascal Mourgue composes a poetically minimal Manhattan showroom for Ligne Roset.
Linas Alsenas -- Interior Design, 9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Ligne Roset's sleek, new Manhattan flagship store has become a sanctuary for modern style devotees. Its expansive, glazed storefront windows along Park Avenue South announce the Ligne Roset brand with artless simplicity. Passersby cannot help but pause and gaze at the serene, elegant interior. Although spartan in form, the store is absolutely luxurious. Unhurried shoppers drift about the 6,000-sq.-ft. showroom, navigating among harmonious arrangements of streamlined contemporary furniture. Only the occasional boldly colored product disturbs the pristine interior's cool palette.
The showroom is meant to be explored. The large, limestone-floored entrance area flows into intimately scaled sectors at the back of the store, where unobtrusive second-floor offices overlook the main one through diaphanous curtains. Here, a subtle black ash floor lies underfoot, while a muted lighting scheme highlights the orderly array of merchandise. Circular windows located on interior walls defy the strict rectilinear composition of the space. A wide, central staircase draws visitors down to the labyrinthine lower level, where cozy installations of furniture and lighting entice lingerers.
While adopting a minimalist aesthetic, designer Pascal Mourgue avoids antiseptic solemnity by suspending his own sculpture, a pair of large metallic fish, above the showroom stairs. These whimsical, sleek creatures appear to have been frozen mid-leap. However surreal, the gravity-defying fish do not seem out of place here, where weightlessness is the norm. Glass panels and shelves throughout the store seem to float above their stainless-steel supports while large, glowing lamps hover above various furniture installations. Display walls along the sides of the room emphasize the 14 1/2-ft. ceiling height with their lower elevation and slightly darker shade. The generous width of the staircase further underscores the lofty volume and depth of the space, and, from a lower level perspective, the massive black ash stairs seem to ascend unsupported.
Having designed Ligne Roset stores in Munich, Chicago, and Coral Gables, Mourgue had ample opportunity to hone his vision of the brand. The New York showroom, the company's largest, represents a collaboration between Mourgue, his associate Patrice Hardy, and the architectural division of the Roset group, led by François Benard. Completed in nine months, it is the ideal setting for Ligne Roset's refined and quintessentially modern designs, many of which are Mourgue's own.