Drawing up the courage to knock on the door of a star architect is not for everyone. And if the person in question is Peter Marino, the designer and architect singlehandedly responsible for creating a new concept of luxury boutique for the biggest fashion names around, it becomes almost mission impossible. But that’s exactly what Alex Turco did. He strode through the entrance to Marino’s Midtown Manhattan studio and – samples in hand – presented his unique product: decorative art panels in a variety of designs, a combination of creativity and innovation, abstract and material… a meeting point between art and design.
The bond between architect and art designer – of Friulian origin but based in Miami – was thus forged three years ago, giving life to what is today a very fruitful joint venture that has led to the design and creation of splendid boutiques for Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi all over the world.
The technique adopted by Alex Turco for the creation of his art panels necessitates the use of flexible, light and dynamic supports (such as aluminium composite, acrylic and Plexiglas) and resin as base materials, forming a base upon which various different elements can be mixed. The result? Three different effects: Flat, characterised by simple, elegant shine; Dripping, which is instantly recognisable for its unusual three-dimensional character – all droplets and brushstrokes – and lastly Textured, the richest, most beguiling effect, which incorporated natural elements such as quartz and sand into the resin.
This ability to create ad-hoc works that are always different – always unique given their handmade artfulness – opened the door for the two to create customised products for projects with three fashion houses. Vuitton’s flagship boutiques in Paris, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Beijing, for example, are decorated with art panels in shades of bronze and brown, while golden metallic pigments create a rust illusion and resin forms horizontal lines that run around the walls for an enveloping effect. As part of the far-reaching restyling project involving all Dior stores in the world, Peter Marino chose the work of Alex Turco to illuminate the ceilings with pure, bright silvers, in the context of a store-fitting concept that drew heavily on elegant French salons. Another style, warmer and more material, is used for the brand-new Fendi store in New York’s Madison Avenue. Voted the most beautiful boutique in the Big Apple, Alex Turco created an exclusive pattern for this special project, working with a brush-effect aluminium panel as design base. Semi-precious minerals and golden pigments give the resin a glowing finish, allowing the base texture to shine through, revealing the delicate cracks and crevices of a wall that recalls the artist’s origins. The wall, in fact, is that of his family home in Udine. “That’s what we Italians are good at: capturing the essence of what’s around us and giving them a meaning, a story.”