The Jil Sander Munich boutique occupies three levels of a 19th century apartment house at the corner of Stollbergstrasse and Maximilianstrasse, the principal retail avenues of Munich. The ground floor facade is characterized by floating jet mist Granite plinths positioned at each storefront, assuming the appearance of stages for the merchandise suspended above. The large windows are partially screened by beveled fin walls, which serve as two-sided backdrops for the window displays and for merchandising on the interior. The windows above, situated within the existing ‘Moorish’ arches, have been screened with translucent fabric from the inside, creating a neutral backdrop for second level merchandising.
The interiors’ inherent horizontality is balanced by a dynamic sense of vertical movement. A large slot was carved around the building's core, creating a light-filled void that becomes a unifying element around which all other spaces and volumes are organized. The second floor slab is cut back on two sides, revealing two and three story monolithic volumes standing solidly as ceiling and floor planes engage or slide by.
Upon entering the boutique one is drawn diagonally to a slowly winding stair that connects the two retail floors. Constructed of a single steel stringer with cantilevered limestone treads and a delicate nickel silver handrail, the stair allows for dramatic views of the ground level and the stair void as one approaches the more intimate spaces of the second floor.
Photography by Paul Warchol.