Issey Miyake Tribeca, in Titanium
Issey Miyake Tribeca is a retail store for the Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake designed by Gordon Kipping (G TECTS) with Frank Gehry in a historic cast-iron warehouse building. Located in in the Tribeca neighborhood of lower Manhattan, the store integrates a sculptural titanium ceiling and wall system designed by Frank Gehry Partners as a center piece, extending from a shaft emerging from the cellar floor into a turbulent swirl engulfing the ceiling of the ground floor retail space.
Zahner worked for Kipping and Gehry to produce undulating forms and structural support system for this high fashion store in New York City. Hand-formed and machine-formed Titanium panels were attached to the support system, a complex curving tubed branching form which runs throughout the store and can be seen in several detail shots below.
Titanium was discovered in Cornwall, Great Britain in 1791, and it is named for the "Titans" described in Greek Mythology. In the 20th century the material became used in rocketry and aviation. Thanks in large part to architect Frank Gehry, the metal titanium has undergone a transformation into one of the most formidable architectural metal surfaces. The Guggenheim in Bilbao was the first use of titanium sheathing as an architecture material in 1997. Since then architectural titanium has been used on a number of buildings.Titanium is almost always provided with the surface finish obtained at the mill. This surface can be a smooth, slightly glossy gray tone or it can be moderately coarse from glass-bead blasting or shot peening. The stiffness of the surface resists deep embossing but can receive many of the same patterns available on stainless steel. Titanium needs to be viewed in the full spectrum of light. On close examination, the surface looks gray; but at a distance of a few meters, when viewed in the full spectrum, it has a very slight golden cast. On overcast days, the metal looks medium gray with a slight golden tone. On bright sunny days, the gold tone shimmers like nickel silver.
Titanium is a notoriously difficult surface to work with. The material has incredible memory, which is why it's been re-branded as a smart metal for high-end eye-glasses. In construction, the difficulty with it's memory is that it wants to revert to a flat form. It also has a much harder huge tensile capacity, which enables it to take greater loads, but also makes it difficult to form.
For the Miyake project, Zahner engineered a flexible system which allowed the Architects to join the installers in New York. Custom-engineered machined stainless steel rotation points gave the metal sheet forms a large degree of leniency. Together the architects and installers manipulated the metal into their desired forms, referencing the fashion displayed on the store's ground floor and lower level.
The above images show the Miyake Project during construction and the CAD rendering of the structural tubing which the entire sculpture is hooked into. The tubed system as well as the metal surface were developed collaboratively between the architects and the Design Assist Team at Zahner.
The images below are from Gordon Kipping, showing the architect with the artists and fashion designers involved in the project. Also shown are the initional sketches as well as the photographed result of Frank Gehry's Tornado installation in the Issey Miyake Tribeca.