The iconic luxury brand's Michigan Avenue flagship unveils a new look with a nod to the company's rich history.
A rendering of the Tiffany & Co. flagship on Michigan Avenue.
For almost 50 years, Tiffany & Co.’s Midwest flagship on Michigan Avenue has drawn scores of customers seeking out the brand’s sumptuous, timeless jewelry and accessories. Now, after a nine-month, top-to-bottom renovation, there’s even more appeal to the place, as the refreshed and reconfigured 10,100-square-foot space is officially unveiled this month.
Walking into the store, customers are welcomed by a striking white marble staircase at the center of the room’s light, bright salons. Dramatic high ceilings draw the eye upward— from the cases of sparkling jewelry to a commanding white-gold magnolia chandelier by New York artist Michele Oka Doner—and the overall effect is startlingly lovely, and aimed at invoking a particular feeling.
“There’s that moment—that sort of Holly Golightly moment,” says Tiffany Executive Vice President Jon King of the effect produced on visitors. “It’s the feeling that you are coming into a space where important things happen.”
The contemporary new aesthetic feels every bit as rich and luxurious as the medium cherry wood it replaced, but with a refined elegance and a hint of femininity. The serene space is accented with layered velvet draperies and chairs in Tiffany Blue.
These design elements aren’t unique to Tiffany’s Chicago location, but their implementation is on a much larger, more lavish scale for this expansive flagship, where customers come from all over the Midwest to take pictures, make special-occasion purchases, and perhaps even see a Tiffany & Co. store in person for the first time.
“Because of the grand scale of Michigan Avenue, we have the opportunity to do things in a more important way than a [smaller] boutique in Tokyo,” King says. One example is that grand staircase, which integrates a wheatleaf motif in its detailing.
“The wheatleaf pattern is, we think, a very American motif that Midwesterners understand—a design that is at once elegant and that which is understood to be at the heart of America,” says King.
Nature influences not just the décor, but also Tiffany’s collections as well. Oka Doner’s magnolia chandelier and sconces pay homage to the company’s first director of design, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and the stained-glass screens he designed for his Manhattan home. His wisteria pattern is framed by black lacquer and white gold in five new private sales salons, whose décor draws inspiration from Tiffany’s Upper East Side residence. Notes Chicago-based Regional Vice President Cathy Elward, “There’s a lot more dedication to allowing people to sit down to have a consultation.” Other changes to the store’s layout include a 1,400- square-foot expansion, and the company’s first-ever dedicated watch salon in the Americas.
Even the flagship’s familiar granite façade didn’t go untouched. Branded Tiffany Blue awnings have been added to decorate the store’s exterior, a touch that was most definitely deliberate. Says Elward, “We wanted to make sure there was no way you could walk past and not know this is Tiffany’s.” Tiffany & Co.’s newly renovated boutique will be unveiled in September. 730 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-7500