The new Holt Renfrew flagship store opened its doors last month captivating the attention of the luxury brand crowd but also of the Interior Design and Architecture crowd. Designed by Janson Goldstein (www.jansongoldstein.com) out of New York who in 2007 unveiled the Vancouver Holt Renfrew department store. The 40 foot tall facade of glass, marble and steel is a captivating entry to the sleek white interior within. Already making headlines across the news world design magazines have also been capturing the fuss such as Design Quarterly magazine, an Alberta based publication dedicated to Architects and Designers in the province. At first I was disappointed that a Canadian firm was not chosen to carry the new design direction for the distinctly Canadian couture giant but with a firm like Janson Goldstein at the helm I knew only good things could come. I am glad that the design brings a distinctly New York touch with zebra wood, marble, white back painted glass and chrome. The great thing about hiring a designer from another country and culture is the ability to give a city a new outlook on the style and approach they could take. In a city like Calgary that is trying to push itself to a global scale it is time that they step away from the heavily warm tones, granite and slate to explore the potential of new materials, sleeker style and international flavor. At 151,000 square feet this 3 story shopping paradise will house brands like Gucci, Prada, Jil Sander, Fendi, Coach, Jimmy Choo, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Cavalli, Tiffany & Co. and Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few.
“We are very proud to invite Calgarians into Holt Renfrew’s new store in this great city”, said Caryn Lerner, President and CEO of Holt Renfrew. “Our gorgeous new flagship has a rich selection of the world’s best fashions. We are excited to introduce over 60 new brands to the market.” This project will truly revitalize a raise the bar for downtown Calgary’s Core shopping center.
I had the priviledge at Andres Escobar and Associates to work on the interior design renovation of Saks 5th Avenue in New York which opened up my eyes to the world of department store design, politics and couture style. Both luxury goods giants are playing with the likes of other big boys like Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Bloomingdales and finding that it takes big money, sharp design and a lot of bold move to pull off a stunning showpiece that provides the perfect museum quality backdrop for some of the worlds leaders in fashion.
I hope this massive new store sparks Edmonton’s Holt Renfrew to step up to the plate and update its sadly aged appearance and small scale. I would hope that it is on the top of Holt Renfrew Canada’s “To Do” list. Holts Montreal is aging but it at the very least has its size and location up to par. Holts Edmonton could do with a new facade, larger space and entirely new interior.
Another Canadian Luxury brand store the one and only Oglivys in Montreal is also in need of a well deserved facelift. Any Interior Designer would gasp with delight to have their hands in transforming that delight of a department store that dates back all the way to 1866 as a linen shop.
Have you been to the new Calgary Holt Renfrew yet? Tell me about your experience! How did the space make you feel? Do you think it has made a big impact on the downtown core? Do you think it will inspire a more International design flavor? Will New York ever be envious of Calgary?