Ironic luxury

Braccialini's latest Dubai store epitomises the best of Italian glamour.

Bright pink accents break up the monochrome black and white scheme.
Bright pink accents break up the monochrome black and white scheme.

The Italian fashion label, Braccialini has just opened the doors of its fourth store in Dubai following the success of the brand's other outlets. This latest addition is located in Festival City in the newly completed Waterfront. Boasting a history spanning more than fifty years and an annual turnover in excess of 42million Euros (AED209 million), maintaining strong brand recognition is top of the company's priority list. Additionally, it is part of the label's strategic objectives to reach a younger customer target. Both intentions were key to the design of this store.

Local distributor, Lui O Lei brings Italian businesses out to Dubai, and managing partner, Hassan Goldooz, says the fasion brand's established style led the design process: "The brand's acclaimed style was the basic inspiration for the interior design. The focal points, the giant 'rose' of the logo, the sensuous curves of the branches, the shining crystal chandelier are definitely inspired by the brand design." He adds: "The most crucial point was to create the ideal 'box' to represent and respect the uniqueness of the brand collections."

The interior design of the boutique follows the spirit of the new store concept of the Braccialini boutiques around the globe, which first started in 2005 with the 'historical' boutique in Florence. The new store concept was designed by PLS Design, a Florence-based architecture and interior design firm. Lino Losanno, co founder, PLS, says: "The architect's goal is to capture the essence of the sophisticated brand Braccialini and frame it with a contemporary language. The concept combines the preciousness of the traditional craftsmanship with the most modern designs."

PLS chose a variety of materials that reflected the intense history of Italian design, but fused it with a contemporary interpretation. Painted glass, polished steel and black stone with lacquers are used in the background to highlight the richness of the collections. The main colours are monochromatic black and white but with splashes of colours such as hot pink. Fundamentally, the eye-catching colours should be from the merchandise itself.

Dubai-based firm HDD Interiors, which was established in 2003, completed the fit out. After a mere four years it now boasts a client list including Siemens, Nissan, Daewoo, Chanel and Al Tayer Group. Co-founder of HDD and architect Elie J Dib says that in this project Braccialini wanted to create an elegant moody look, which influenced the choice of materials.

The designers opted for black absolute granite for the flooring, which HDD sourced from M/s Marble Art, based in Jebel Ali. Dib explains: "It's a good quality granite and matches with the shop interior and the dark colour gives a prestigious look to the showroom."

The technical lighting predominantly consists of metal-halide and halogen lamps, which provide the overall illumination of the space. The principal decorative light that dominates the design is a stunning cascade of crystal drops highlighted by halogen mini spots placed in the centre of the store.

Goldooz explains that the concept of the store was to convey the feeling to the customers of "luxurious irony or ironic luxury." He maintains that the overall feel of the store is exactly what they anticipated: "My favourite part of the design is the general sophisticated and comfortable atmosphere."

With a total floor space of 125m², the fit out took approximately four months and cost round AED1 million.

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