Moments of Luxury

Tapped to design the first Neiman Marcus in the Pacific Northwest, Charles Sparks + Company dug deep and created an ultimate shopping experience.

The Westchester, IL-based Charles Sparks + Co., a retail design, planning, and communications consultancy, was hired to bring the vision of modern luxury to a vibrant urban destination. The result instantly communicates a commitment to luxury and quality while also reinvigorating the sense of bold contemporary style long associated with Neiman Marcus.

Roughly 126,300 square feet, the new three-level store was a natural fit for The Bravern—a 300,000-square-foot shopping center inspired by European villages, and an integral part of a mixed-use urban complex that covers five acres in the high-tech suburb of Bellevue, WA.

The Sparks team coordinated with Neiman's visual planning staff to develop strategic locations for visual strike points and presentations.

The concept for this store lies in promoting a feeling of openness, simplicity and modernism. The design is not fussy, as clean lines and clarity of space defines the overall look. A playful use of color and contrasting materials are strategically integrated so that customers are led from point to point and introduced to an element of surprise. The concept terminology developed to describe these places of emphasis was "moments of luxury."

The Cosmetics department tests a new open sell concept. Glass screens, lighter furniture (like showcases on legs), makeup artist stations and open fixturing create a floating shop in the middle of the sales floor.

Vitrines and showcases are set at multiple heights and create a more animated visual horizon in Precious Jewels and Designer Jewelry. Floor to ceiling metal, wood and glass screens enhance visual presentation, while customer seating defines the entry to the gallery of jewelry.

Custom decorative pendant lighting was used in several places. Precious Jewels utilizes a hand-blown glass ball design cascading from the ceiling to punctuate the "moment of luxury." In Cosmetics, an illuminated drum was created to define the "play station" makeup area, and in Men's Fitting, a design of glowing frosted glass discs accent the lounge area.

The lighting in Contemporary Sportswear uses bold ceiling reveals along with adjustable track lights to break up the expansive ceilings. The black slots and raw concrete columns enhance the "loft" look of the department.

Lighting over the curved booth seating in the Mariposa restaurant features a natural stick pattern cut from a bronze shroud softly lit from behind.

The materials palette includes warm light tones, glass screens to promote translucency of space, and the highest quality wood and metal finishes throughout. Lush textures and earth tone hues punctuate key focal areas.

The Mariposa restaurant utilizes an accent wall of polished plaster and curved screen walls with a random stick motif to control views.