When Vitra began planning the renovation of its Manhattan showroom, the company realized that with the changes, they had more space than they needed. So they did what any New Yorker would do and found a roommate. Of course, with nearly 1,200 square metres of space to fill, this meant creating a second showroom in their Meatpacking district digs.
Luckily, Axor – the design-driven brand of bathroom fixture expert Hansgrohe – was looking to set up its first U.S. showroom in New York. Far from being an odd couple, Vitra and AXOR seemed a natural fit, given the large overlap both in their clientele and in the designers they work with – including Antonio Citterio, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Patricia Urquiola.
To renew the space, Vitra worked with architects Vincent Bandy and Andrew Reyniak. Tearing down the walls allows the simplified space to breathe with a rhythm more closely reflecting that of contemporary open-concept offices – and in fact, many of the desk stations on display in the showroom are used by Vitra employees, giving clients a sense of how successfully these spaces function.
Early in the process, Axor consulted with architect Pietro Ferruccio Laviani, designer of the carnival-esque Kartell booth for the Milan furniture fair in April. Their second-floor space is arranged around vignettes of bathroom spaces featuring the product lines of Citterio, Urquiola and Philippe Starck – and even includes interactive water displays.