Tiffany & Co, what’s in the box?…

Tiffany & Co has celebrated the opening of its new boutique in Selfridges with a light and cinema installation, ‘Fifth & 57th’, the famous corner for Tiffany’s NY flagship.

Located in the old Selfridges Hotel, next to the department store of the same name, you are transported to NY by entering through the doors of a subway car. You can then stroll down the avenue lined with buildings constructed of hundreds of boxes and light projections showing architectural details and vistas of Manhattan’s bustling street life. The flagship’s storefront then greets you with window displays by the legendary Gene Moore, who designed Tiffany’s windows from 1955 to 1994.

01_Tiffany

Tiffany & Co’s new immersive exhibition at the Old Selfridges Hotel, London, creates New York’s Deco cityscape from hundreds of pristine-white architectural square boxes (Click photo to enlarge).

It takes chutzpah to unravel the classic codes that your brand is built on and reform them as something new. Especially if you happen to be Tiffany & Co, a name synonymous with a box in a colour that no-one else can replicate, the famous bird’s-egg blue has its own Pantone reference (PMS number 1837).

07_Selfridges-bench
 … Inside, Central Park is recreated with a park bench where a smitten lover might pop the question under the boughs of a perfectly pink Magnolia. A nod to couples from around the world who become engaged in the park with a diamond ring. Nearby, a master engraver will offer complimentary hand engraving of Tiffany & Co designs ..(Click photo to enlarge).
Tiffany & Co. Exhibition 'Fifth And 57th' Preview
But the New York fine jeweller’s installation ‘Fifth & 57th’, currently on show at the Old Selfridges Hotel, a dilapidated, industrial space to the rear of the eponymous London department store, does just that. Naturally, the famed Tiffany & Co box is the pivot around which this temporary immersive exhibition revolves but in a delightfully witty move, it has been stripped of the colour that is one of the most distinguishable calling cards of all time.
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A street of boxes forms a backdrop for a video installation capturing the flavour of a typical Fifth Avenue day, from sunrise to sunset (Click photo to enlarge).
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 … and a surreally geometric pretzel and coffee cart (Click photo to enlarge).
Instead, towers of hundreds of pristine-white architectural square boxes represent New York’s Deco cityscape. This orderly melange forms a backdrop for a brilliantly noisy video installation capturing the flavour of a typical Fifth Avenue day, from sunrise to sunset, played on a 13-minute loop. So, rather than the blue box representing the glamour of New York, the city itself becomes a reflection of the famed luxury house that was established on the corner of Fifth & 57th in 1837 (hence that bespoke Pantone reference!).
Charlie’s, a bar appropriately named after the founder, is also open for cocktails inspired by the Big Apple and will host live musical performances. Pretzels and coffee are also available from a sidewalk cart.

06_Selfridges-barA stroll down the ‘Avenue’ is designed to reassure visitors with classic notions of NYC, including a speakeasy humming with low chatter, laughter and smoky jazz (Click photo to enlarge).

This smidgeon of subversive humour goes a long way to making ‘Fifth & 57th’ a richer visitor experience, providing the element of surprise that can do much to bring over 100 years of heritage to life. But of course, this is not just any history, this is New York history, Tiffany style. And so all this abstract thinking must be tempered by the sweetness of romance. Hence, a stroll down the ‘Avenue’ is designed to reassure visitors with classic notions of New York City: a pretzel and coffee cart; a secluded bench in Central Park, where a smitten lover might pop the question under the boughs of a perfectly pink magnolia; Charlie’s Bar, a speakeasy humming with low chatter, laughter and smoky jazz.

 

02_TiffanyThe master engraver installed in his studio (Click photo to enlarge).

The house’s formidable design heritage is also celebrated. A master engraver is installed in his studio on site, referencing Tiffany & Co’s reputation for decorative silver and expert craft techniques. And a homage to the genius of the late, great designer Gene Moore, who, for 40 years (until 1994) beguiled millions of passers-by to take a closer look into Tiffany & Co’s windows by way of his beautifully intriguing displays, is an unexpected Delight.

Tiffany & Co. Exhibition 'Fifth And 57th' Preview

And at the end of your visit, every thirteen minutes a light projection of a setting sun in New York is displayed (Click photo to enlarge).

‘Fifth & 57th’ is in keeping with the current trend for luxury houses to bring their heritage to life but none has done it with quite so much humour and sass as Tiffany & Co has here. Now we all know what is really inside that Little Blue Box.

‘Fifth & 57th’ is a rich, characterful visitor experience, bringing over 100 years of cultural and commercial heritage to life.

‘Fifth & 57th’ is open to the public from Friday 3 July until Sunday 12 July.

by Jean Amr

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