The second “star-architect” that we held our Q&A with was Eric Carlson of Carbondale Studio. Eric Carlson and his Paris based Architecture studio CARBONDALE were invited to design three projects: Venice, Montecarlo and Beijing. Applying their expertise in Luxury Architecture, CARBONDALE has customized three distinctive works that infuse the identities of each location with the unique character of the Dolce&Gabbana brand.
Renowned for their extensive research and strategy-based design process, CARBONDALE has compiled a 600 page “bible” that outlines how an in-depth understanding of the client and context provides rich and genuine foundations for the creative process as well as assures the credibility and quality of the final project, this commitment to the “exceptional” is what makes Carbondale’s collaboration with their clients special.
Table of contents
- 1What is your firm’s design policy?
- 2How would you describe your signature style? What sets you apart from other architects with a similar style to your own?
- 3How did you structure your approach to the design of the new boutiques?
- 4How did you feel about embarking on this new global path that Dolce&Gabbana have spearheaded?
- 5How did you find the balance between creating something new for the brand whilst keeping it rooted in its identity?
- 6What is luxury to you?
- 7Do you have a special connection with the location of the new stores?
What is your firm’s design policy?
In all of our projects we are in search of “the exceptional”. This starts and ends with QUALITY, the quality of materials and the quality of details but also the quality of ideas, reflection and service.
How would you describe your signature style?
What sets you apart from other architects with a similar style to your own?
There is a fundamental choice when designing in Architecture, should the project express the identity of the Client or Brand or should it express the Architect’s personal style? Most Architects choose to blanket their own style over all their projects. At CARBONDALE we are specialists in “Luxury Architecture”. This means that we customize each project to correspond to the unique characteristics of each of our Clients and never repeat a formal language or apply predefined style to any projects. We do not follow styles, we’re leaders.
How did you structure your approach to the design of the new boutiques?
From over 25 years in luxury architecture and projects realized all over the world we have developed a unique approach that begins with an extensive research, analysis and strategy phase. This phase allows us to create an Architectural strategy from a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the brand, the different store locations and their cultures. For Dolce&Gabbana we interviewed customers, more that 40 members of the company, toured and documented visits to the three flagship store locations in Beijing, Venice and Monte Carlo as well as to key locations in Sicily.
How did you feel about embarking on this new global path that Dolce&Gabbana have spearheaded?
For Dolce&Gabbana to decide to design boutiques across the globe that are completely unique inside-and-out is not only groundbreaking, it is also the future of luxury. This is a bold strategy that is perfectly aligned with our design expertise at CARBONDALE of “tailoring” each our projects. It’s a very exciting time and I’m pleased to be involved.
How did you find the balance between creating something new for the brand whilst keeping it rooted in its identity?
There is no struggle between identity and creativity. I don’t seek to reduce a brand’s identity or personality down to a singular distilled essence. For me it is very much the opposite. I strive to understand the multiplicity of characteristics that defines each one of our clients and utilize these distinctive attributes to make something new and something that is inextricably theirs. In respect to identity and creativity, I’ve come to discover that Dolce&Gabbana is extraordinarily bountiful.
What is luxury to you?
I think “luxury” is customization. In my work this means creating resonance and connections with individuals by making buildings, spaces and experiences that are uniquely theirs…where they take emotional ownership of the design and wonder how they lived without it before.
Do you have a special connection with the location of the new stores?
Our approach for connecting to each of the three stores varies based on the unique characteristics that each location shares with Dolce&Gabbana.
For Venice, a city of culture and tourism, we create a remarkable historical destination by restoring the façade and four exceptional rooms to their original condition. In sharp contrast, the non-historical spaces are treated in a contemporary manner with traditionally venetian crafted materials including glass and stone mosaics, Murano glass features, silk Damask fabrics and Italian marbles.
For Beijing, the Chinese traditional colours and materials are fused with the Italian opera to create a theatrical sense of drama and discovery. A monumental draping curtain façade of solid stone followed by layers of space defined in dark woods and marble lead visitors to a porcelain VIP room inspired by Ming dynasty ceramics.
For Monte Carlo, the culture of glamour, luxury and the jet-set are manifested over three levels each with different special configurations. The lower level with a private VIP entry is reminiscent of the James Bond 007 gun barrel with a long linear space wrapped with a spiral of black marble and pink quartz stone on the walls floor and ceiling. The large middle and upper level is composed of black marble flooring with a ceiling entirely of mirror facets punctuated by islands of pink quartz stone to define the various product areas.
Our third interview is on his way! Next up is Julien Rousseau of Fresh Architectures.