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Prada Epicenter van Koolhaas geopend in Beverly Hills

21 juli 2004, 15:02
Het nieuwe Epicenter van Prada van Rem Koolhaas is afgelopen week in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles geopend. De eerste Prada winkel van Koolhaas staat in New York. Oma “The projects for the Italian fashion company Prada span from research on shopping and new concepts for Prada as a brand to the creation of three big stores in the United States. But beyond restructuring the physical reality of the brand, Prada’s virtual presence is simultaneously defined through extensive in-store technology projects and the creation of a website. The combination of these aspects generates an integrated service structure that enables Prada to provide a new sense of exclusivity, but also to reinforce the diverse and intriguing aura of the brand.”

Report Guardian

There's something radical about Prada's LA store - it's open to all
Miucca Prada is clutching a mirrored bag and wearing a skirt that appears to have been made out of a bamboo bead curtain. She is standing halfway up the vertiginous wall of oiled wood steps that squats in the middle of her new store on Rodeo Drive like an Aztec temple, overshadowed by an outsize version of a headless shop window dummy inflated to the scale of Michelangelo's David. She steps back and stumbles; for a moment it looks as if she will topple down the stairs, but she catches the handrail in time. 'I had nothing to do with planning this store,' she says. But it's said in a nice way. 'When we chose to work with Rem Koolhaas, we knew that we weren't going to be making many suggestions to him about how it should be.'
Prada - the store, rather than its owner - can seem like another Biba at times, too smart for its own good. Throughout the 1960s Biba was the most successful fashion shop in London, if not the world, getting its interiors, graphics and clothes just right. Then it took over a failing department store and went bust in a year.

Not that Prada is bankrupt. Despite its difficulties trying to float its shares to ease the debt it took on to finance a burst of expansion in the 1990s it is making money. And, as it has grown, its determination to avoid becoming boring, as Miucca Prada puts it, has encouraged it to take on some of the most challenging architects in the world to design its new stores. In New York it opened Rem Koolhaas's first shop just after the attacks on the twin towers, and was roundly condemned for being inappropriately frivolous. In Tokyo last year Herzog and de Meuron designed an even more expensive brand new building. And Shanghai, Beijing and London will get big new Prada stores if the company can find the right sites. There is a view that Koolhaas is a kind of Svengali who holds Miucca Prada in thrall, pushing her into pouring untold millions into a series of shops that are as expensive as they are perverse. It's not a view held by anybody who has actually met her. Certainly the shops are not cheap, and Koolhaas does delight in deliberately setting out to do exactly the opposite of what everybody else is doing. On Rodeo Drive gold leaf, granite and travertine are all but obligatory. So Koolhaas uses foam, polycarbonate and aluminium. Everybody else has ostentatious security, so Prada is entirely open to the street during business hours. There is no shop window, and no door either, just airconditioning and a defensive aluminium barrier lowered by invisible hydraulics every morning to the accompaniment of blaring klaxons. The aluminium, ostensibly elegant and sleek, had already been marked with the grease of a thousand fingerprints by the night of the opening last week. There is a window display, but the mannequins are buried underground, visible only through two portholes flush with the pavement. If Prada is a victim, she is certainly a willing one, who knew what she was getting into. 'We checked out a lot of architects. I really appreciated what Koolhaas does, because he is interested in so much more than architecture. Everybody we talked to about him said, "He's too difficult." That made us really sure he was right for us.'
Both Prada and Koolhaas make the point that these stores are meant to be different from one another. And Los Angeles, with its interior flooded with light, beautifully filtered through layers of the kind of glass that can go opaque at the touch of a button, does feel very different from New York's subterranean basement.

Whole article on www.guardian.co.uk

Fotografie: Lydia Gould
Foto's : Baunetz

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