Design showcase: Âme opens New York flagship

US jewellery brand Âme has opened a New York flagship store, located on Spring Street in SoHo, in Lower Manhattan. The company sells ranges that all feature Âme's lab-grown diamonds, and is seeking to challenge more established brands with striking store formats, and new technology both in its products and its customer service.

Like the brand's Los Angeles flagship, opened in April 2019, the New York branch has been designed by Baranowitz+Kronenberg, which has offices in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam.

The New York store has been inspired by the undulating cast iron facades typical of period buildings in the district, and the shadows cast by them.

Stainless steel display centrepieces create a contrast with darker steel panels used on the walls, in a mostly monochromatic interior space.

The theme of the store design is the meeting of past, present and future, to reflect the combination of new diamond technology and traditional crafts illustrated by Âme's products.

Âme was created by Alex Popov, president of the Moscow Diamond Bourse and a former chairman of the World Diamond Mark Foundation, to disrupt the diamond industry, and to test his belief that most customers don't care if their diamonds have been mined or grown in a laboratory.

Âme creative director Elinor Avni says that she always aims to create jewellery that is 'wearable,' with a distinctive aesthetic that is inspired by geometric shapes.

The brand has secured a number of celebrity customers, helping it gain exposure in lifestyle magazines and on social media channels. These include DJ and performance artist Mimi Xu, and actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

Music, scent and touch are all employed in the store to create a sensory experience for customers. UK perfume designer Azzi Glasser has created a unique scent for Âme, and this is used as a permanent feature throughout the brand's stores in a bid to convey a sense of luxury.

Each item of jewellery is displayed in its own individual capsule or glass cloche, to invite the impression that it is being served like a food dish, rather than displayed. The display strategy is intended to encourage a slower customer journey around the store.

A small bar area allows customers to pause and enjoy a drink while considering their purchases.

“This project follows our design philosophy that has been our guiding light for two decades; we come, observe and then look at the findings with an open mind while scrutinizing every contextual insight and its relevance to our brand and its target audience. We allow the essence of place to lead us while always looking for synergetic points with the brand's DNA,” said Baranowitz+Kronenberg co-founder Alon Baranowitz.

According to Âme the brand plans to open more stores soon.