At number 12, Rue de la Corraterie in Geneva, the refurbished store of Sheffield the jewellers, renowned among all fans of jewels and precious stones for its range of unique items and gems from the Victorian era, art déco and the Belle Époque.
Founded in 1972, Sheffield moved to its present location in 1982 and was recently taken over by a family of jewellers in Geneva, who commissioned Zordan and the "AT&D" (Architectural Tools and Design) studio of Turin to completely renovate the store. The objective was the modernisation of the store and the repositioning of the sales outlet's image in an exclusive area in order to meet the sophisticated tastes of a wider clientele seeking more modern jewels and unique collector's items.
img.0View from the street
The restoration works involved the construction of the façade and the doors and windows, the installation of essential equipment (electrical, air-conditioning and security), the plasterboard, the paintings, the floors, the installation of motorized windows and the creation of all the interior furnishings.
Zordan selected the most sophisticated and sought-after materials for this veritable jewel of a store in order to meet the high expectations of the owner and the designer Patrizia Girondi of the "AT&D" studio, renowned in Italy for the design of luxury stores.
The operation also involved the refurbishment of the exterior fittings, which had to await the approval of the Geneva city authorities. Originally, the doors and windows in question were in aluminium but the designer, Girondi, preferred laminated iron painted in anthracite black on the side facing outwards in order to lend continuity to the facade and burnished brass facing inwards. Two symmetrical outer windows were installed alongside the entrance door, made up of a support ledge along the entire length of the facade.
img.1Inside Sheffield Boutique
"Above all, we took a fresh approach to the sales outlet's interior: previously, this had been divided into two rooms, one at the front dedicated to the display window and sales with the one to the rear used as a workshop," said AT&D's Girondi. "We preferred to create one single room and emphasise its length by creating a continuous space, enhanced by the underlying theme of the light bronze colour running through the inward-facing fittings and restated throughout in the furnishings, framing the outlines. We placed a cube at the centre of the store, housing the service area and also acting as a dividing element. Indeed, two large, full-height portals in zebrawood were placed on the sides of the cube and these can be closed to create a private room suitable for special sales."
The interior displays a tonal blend of sand and grey enhanced with the silky champagne colours of the iridescent fabrics in the display windows and the bronze-coloured outlines of the furnishings in luxurious bleached oak that stand out from the two side walls, one clad in nubuck-coloured walnut and the other in striped zebrawood of a dove-grey colour. The floors were formed of long, narrow bamboo staves that restate the colours and shapes of the sales outlet.
img.2Sheffield Boutique interiors
img.3Sheffield Boutique - Geneva
The seats of the chairs and poufs are clad in velvet with a light green and seagreen circular pattern that bestows a touch of colour in an ambience with a basic, linear style: the perfect backdrop to enhance the unique items displayed by Sheffield.
The sales outlet features remote-controlled motorized windows that scroll vertically rather than sideways, which were specially developed for this renovation by Zordan's R&D department. This device allowed the interior to be optimised to the maximum, which greatly pleased both the architect Girondi and the client. "I very much appreciated Zordan's work as general contractor," said Patrizia Girondi. "They were very precise, reliable in terms of the schedules, impeccable in resolving problems and handling the bureaucracy, and extremely accurate."
img.4Little tables inside
Zordan was also responsible for the creation of the false ceiling and the lighting, taking great care to reflect the sophisticate style of the store interior in the ceiling in order to enhance the space. Indeed, the false ceiling creates two levels of different heights: the central part is lower, extending for the entire length of the store, and contains directional spotlights encased in the long central slit. A circle of LEDs creates a play of indirect light in the upper part of the spandrel that sheds a ring of overhead lighting on the perimeter of the store.
The Sheffield boutique was designed by Patrizia Girondi's Architectural - Tools and Design studio, with Francesca De Gaspari and Giorgia Verardini Prendiparte.
The Architectural - Tools and Design Studio was founded in 2001 in Turin by Patrizia (born in 1972, she graduated in architecture from Turin polytechnic). Since 2003, the studio has designed and produced the concepts for many brand-name stores and boutiques on behalf of leading Italian companies. The studio is involved in architecture, exhibitions and interior design.
For further information and details about the project: www.atdweb.eu