An award-winning, artistically lit interior is not what shoppers expect to find in their neighborhood retail wine store. Vintry Fine Wines, located in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan, set out to prove that their customers can make their wine selections in a distinctive environment housing a world-class collection of 2,500 selections.
Vintry’s merchandising approach to turn a retail wine shop into a visual event was created by architects Rogers Marvel, with lighting by L’Observatoire Intl., both based in New York. The project won the top 2012 GE Edison Award of Excellence, presented in April at this year’s Lightfair in Philadelphia.
“We were inspired by the parallel rows and rolling contours of a hilly vineyard,” says architect Rob Rogers. Thanks to lighting designer Hervé Descottes of L’Observatoire, the 2,100-sq.-ft. space imparts a gem-like status to each bottle in an elegant, museum-quality setting.
Located at 230 Murray St. along the new pedestrian walkway, Vintry brings fine wine to New York’s revitalized downtown and its growing residential population.
In place of the typical wine store lighting that does little more than allow customers to read the labels, Vintry’s design reflects the owner’s image of wine presentation. “By association, the store itself is a 3-D expression of the talent and artistry of the people responsible for the quality of the wines on display,” Roberts says. “Curvilinear forms serve to expand the perceived space as experienced by the visitor, along with maximizing the actual linear footage for display.”
To emphasize the curves of the wall systems and freestanding displays, Descottes selected GE’s Tetra Contour LED systems with a warm color rating of 2700 K. “The Tetra systems were specifically molded to each shelf and stack of bottles below,” Descottes says. “A mock-up was constructed of the display fixtures, so that the architectural and lighting teams could study the maximum quantity of light needed to illuminate the bottles placed on an angle on the shelves with a minimum of reflection from the LED mounting.” He points out that each fixture, whether mounted on the shelves or at the ceiling line, is not visible by shoppers examining the products.
The LED fixtures are dimmable and maintained by a computerized control system that adjusts the store’s lighting level based on measurements of exterior light conditions. Rated life for the fixtures is 50,000 hours.
At the center of the shop, a large free-form faux skylight illuminates the space below. The use of all bright-white materials offsets the curved steel and leather wine display shelving system. Customer touch pads are placed at the central wine table to answer product queries. Floor space circulation allows for the staging of tasting events and wine education classes.