Louis Vuitton’s newest flagship store is a prominent, nautically themed all-glass pavilion that protrudes from Singapore’s Marina Bay. To manage the light levels and protect the retailer’s luxury goods from harmful UV damage, the design team specified SEFAR® Architecture PTFE fabric to float above the space in custom framed panels.
The ceiling panels feature SEFAR Architecture’s EH-35-T2 fabric, which provides the required shade and UV protection, yet still allows daylight to enter the 25,000 square-foot pavilion. The high light transmission of the fabric produces a warm hue of soft filtered light that matches the elegance of the Louis Vuitton brand.
“SEFAR Architecture’s fabric offered unrivaled translucency and strength for this application. The color temperature of the light transmission, along with the longevity and durability of the fabric, made it an ideal choice for the space – it is a great product,” says Nicholas Goldsmith, FAIA, LEED AP, senior principal at FTL Design Engineering Studio.
The fabric panels float off lightweight aluminum frames developed by FTL Design Engineering Studio. The panels feature a unique edge detail that provides proper tensioning and maximum light penetration on frame edges and corners. The ceiling panels are hinged, with a cable mechanism to allow controlled access for maintenance of the skylights above.
“We were very impressed with SEFAR Architecture’s ability to help us meet the ambitious design challenges of Louis Vuitton,” adds Goldsmith. “The framing system hidden behind the tensioned fabric made the panels float like flying carpets in the space, and the panels don’t detract from the product merchandise at all.”
Eventscape Inc. was the sunshade engineer and fabricator of the project who worked closely with FTL to develop the series of over 300 unique wall and ceiling panels:
“After conducting a full digital site survey and creating a 3D model, we worked with FTL to engineer a custom-machined, site-specific mounting system that allowed for repeating panel types,” says Elaine Allen-Milne, Marketing Communications Manager for Eventscape.
“The design retains tight, even tolerances throughout by permitting movement in all axes,” adds Allen-Milne. “And the fabric tensioned easily into the custom edge detail, allowing maximum light penetration on the frame edges and corners.”
The interior design takes its inspiration from its waterfront location and the brand’s association with travel. The multifaceted ceiling panels provide a design element that is aesthetically pleasing while evoking the feel of a luxury yacht’s sails.
“We were happy with the results of this project – including the lighting effects and function of SEFAR Architecture’s fabric,” explains interior architect Peter Marino. “Through mock-ups and prototypes, SEFAR was able to help us reduce the amount of harsh sunlight entering the building without creating shadows, all while protecting the leather goods inside and giving the space even daylight. SEFAR Architecture fabric is a high-quality product with an aesthetic that provides intriguing lighting effects both day and night.”
The EH-35-T2 fabric facilitates 35 percent light transmission and provides consistent diffused light. The material is intended for exterior applications, but the design team selected it for its superior aesthetic quality. The material is also UV-resistant, dirt repellent, sound absorbing, does not allow moisture absorption, and is low in weight per square meter.
The Louis Vuitton Singapore flagship store opened in September 2011. In addition to SEFAR Architecture, members of the project team included interior architect Peter Marino, New York, New York, sun shade consultant FTL Design Engineering Studio, New York, New York, sun shade engineer and fabricator EventScape Inc., Toronto, Canada and exterior architect Moshe Safdie, Somerville, Mass.