The corner facade of Illum department store, facing Copenhagen’s major square, Amagertorv, as well as the main walking streets Købmagergade and Strøget, is no longer hidden behind boards. Last Friday, nearly three years after its announcement, the Italian luxury brand opened its exclusive store at one of the most visited addresses in Copenhagen.
In 2013, Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects was hired by Craven, which owns the Illum building, to design the facade of the new Prada store in close collaboration with the major fashion house and La Rinascente, which operates Illum. Prada also had visions for the design, particularly for the display windows on the ground floor.
A facade that stands out
The vision was to create a contextual building with a modern look - a building that clearly expresses a similar foundation, torso and parapet as the surrounding houses in Copenhagen. Relief and depth have been other important elements brought into play in the new facades.
- The facade of the corner building at Østergade 60 was also different from the rest of Illum before the renovation. We decided to continue the variation in the design of the new facade rather than having Illum’s facade wrap around the corner, explains Søren Daugbjerg, CEO of Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects.
This was done partly to respect the architectural scale of the surrounding buildings and partly to allow for the creation of a very special store that is both part of Illum from the inside and appears unique from the outside.
Tailored to the surroundings
Although the facade differs from the rest of Illum, there are also similarities tying it together with its surroundings. Seen from Amagertorv, the building appears light - like most other houses on the square. When walking on Købmagergade or Strøget, you will see that the exteriors of the bay windows are clad with the material tombac, which also covers the facades of the other floors of the surrounding building.
- Prada has been an exciting project, because of its great complexity and many challenges that must be unified in a single architectural concept - and, in addition, it’s located on the most visited corner in Denmark. It has required a good collaboration between all parties, owners of the building, tenants of the building, authorities, entrepreneurs and all advisors - and the result is highly satisfactory, says Thomas Scheel, partner at Vilhem Lauritzen Architects.