With luxury retail booming in New York City, Cartier, the 175-year French jeweler and one of the world’s most esteemed luxury houses, has raised the bar on its own retail experiences. The brand recently opened a new 11,000-square-foot store in the city’s SoHo neighborhood with the goal of creating a new space that offers a contemporary aesthetic while also bringing together Cartier’s timeless style with the neighborhood’s legacy of industry and creativity.
The storied French jeweler has a strong connection to New York City, and its goal with this new location was to pay homage to those connections. Cartier opened its first store in New York more than 100 years ago, and many of its iconic designs were created by New York designers. This newest location at 102 Greene Street represents the next chapter in the Maison’s New York story, steeped in downtown’s history and cultural richness.
Schimenti was commissioned to provide construction management services for this third New York City location. The Schimenti team was responsible for much of the build-out, including the intricate grand, four-story, curved feature staircase, as well as front-of-house finishes, which include custom millwork, stone, and light fixtures, new elevator machinery and finishes, new windows, and a rooftop terrace for private events.
Having a team with strong collaboration skills is crucial; proven experience executing luxury retail construction is also necessary. Cartier provides a high level of service to its customers and also has high standards for the construction and finishes of their spaces. Meeting those expectations can be challenging for the construction partner, mainly because these projects are almost always more complex than they may seem on paper. Bringing Cartier’s sophisticated and bespoke design to a historic landmarked building created challenges for the Schimenti team, especially regarding the staircase punctuated by a large, emblematic panther mural.
Staircase Design and Installation
The feature staircase was a complex project for several reasons, including the landmark status of the building, sourced materials from overseas, and its intricate design, rising the full four floors through the entire building. To successfully construct and install Cartier’s feature staircase, the team needed to cut through the existing steel floor plates, which left no room for error. To accurately make these floor cuts, Schimenti partnered with a subcontractor to perform a full 3D scan of the installation area from the building’s top-to-bottom. These 3D scans allowed the Schimenti team to accurately create openings with a required three-inch tolerance, deviating only ¼ inch in certain areas. By employing this approach, the team completed the task without any punch items, ensuring greater accuracy and efficiency in the installation process.
Bespoke Features and Finishes
In addition to the staircase, the entire building features a combination of restores and custom finishes. Guests will see that craftsmanship starting right at the main entrance, which was carefully re-centered and still retains its iconic 14-foot iron door. The second floor features a VIP bar and café and a rooftop garden, which will open next spring. All of these spaces feature custom millwork, stone, and light fixtures, much of which is specified by the Paris-based design team and sourced from overseas.
Careful design and construction management combined with custom finishes and complex NYC Landmark review — create a luxurious experience curated for the Cartier customer. The Schimenti team developed a road map of control points, quality assurance, and control gateways from kickoff through the recent grand opening to ensure the project execution met and exceeded the project parameters. With this project, timely project delivery within budget was critical, making it more challenging amongst multi-stakeholders in France and America.
“Cartier is a strong example of one of the many European luxury brands increasing their presence in the U.S. and specifying high-end bespoke finishes that require a high level of craftsmanship,” says Haris Gacevic, a project manager at Schimenti leading the Cartier SoHo project.
“Our team developed a road map of control points and quality control gateways throughout the project to ensure the parameters set by the multi-stakeholder team in France and the U.S.”
– Haris Gacevic, Project Manager
Traditional project management skills weren’t enough to address the complexity and nuance needed for Cartier’s new store. Because so much of this new store was customized, with Cartier providing many of their own finishes, Schimenti’s estimating services, self-perform team, and project management had to be customized to align with the Cartier design vision. The Schimenti team’s deep experience in luxury retail was crucial to the success of this project. Through careful design and construction management, the project resulted in a luxurious experience curated for the Cartier customer.