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STORE SPACES

First Look: RH bets big on New York—and physical retail—with lavish store

BY Marianne Wilson

RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) has unveiled its biggest location to date, a 90,000-sq.-ft. store (or “Gallery” in RH speak) in the heart of Manhattan’s historic Meatpacking District.

The store, whose arrival was announced in a four-page ad in the New York Times with the headline, “The death of retailing is overrated,” showcases all of RH’s businesses. Entire floors are dedicated to interiors, modern, outdoor, baby & child, and teen. And for the first time, RH has integrated its interior design firm services into its retail experience. The second floor features RH Interior Design offices, with five private client presentation rooms and state-of-the-art technology.

The new RH also reflects the increasingly important role hospitality is playing in the company’s playbook. It features a barista bar and rooftop restaurant complete with an outdoor wine terrace. (The restaurant and bar are from celebrated restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, founding president of RH Hospitality.)

The company’s vision will come full circle next year when it opens the first-ever RH GuestHouse boutique hotel open across the street from the Meatpacking location.

RH is located in an historic landmark building that has been reimagined with a modern, steel-and-glass structure that rises five floors through the persevered original brick façade. Cast-iron I-beam evoke the industrial past of the neighborhood. (The space marks RH chairman and CEO Gary Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger.)

The new RH features an array of distinctive elements, including the following.

• The skylit six-story central atrium features stacked cast-iron columns and a transparent elevator that goes up to the glass-encased rooftop restaurant and outdoor space.

• Visitors can also reach the upper levels by way of a grand double staircase illuminated by a glittery art installation (New York Night, by Alison Berger.) Composed of 120 hand-blown crystal teardrop pendants that cascade 90 ft. through the six-story staircase, the piece is designed to evoke a downpour at nightfall. It is set against a backdrop of polished charcoal Venetian plaster.

• The rooftop restaurant is designed to serve as a year-round skylit garden escape. The space is layered with crystal chandeliers, Asiatic jasmine, and elegant banquette seating defined by Japanese boxwood hedging and London plane trees. The restaurant opens onto a landscaped garden wine terrace that offers sweeping views of downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center and the Hudson River.

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