Gabellini Sheppard Carries Out David Yurman’s Vision for the Jewelry Brand’s New York Flagship
The most sensitive time in any medieval court was the passing of a crown and all its authority to the next generation. Will the former prince retain his father’s privy council? Abandon old campaigns? Start new ones? In the case of the jewelry dynasty of David Yurman, the heir to the throne is striking out in a new direction while honoring his house’s legacy, as illustrated by the brand’s New York flagship, recently completed by Gabellini Sheppard Associates.
“The Yurmans have always been identified by the ideas of elevated craftsmanship and American modernity,” says principal and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Michael Gabellini, who previously designed the now-closed David Yurman Townhouse store, a few blocks north, just over a decade ago. At the time, Evan Yurman, the son of co-founders David and Sybil Yurman who joined the company in 2003, was rising through the ranks. He became chief creative officer in 2018 (his parents are now co-CEOs), with the new 57th Street flagship acting as a kind of herald of the scion’s vision for the company. Evan Yurman is known for injecting rare materials into the company’s pieces while inheriting his parent’s love of mid-century modernism—both as inspiration and as a design ethos. Gabellini describes the Yurmans as “voracious collectors who actually live with what they collect.”
Set at the base of a 1926 Emery Roth building with a terra-cotta facade, the 4,000-square-foot, three-level store follows Evan Yurman’s brief to create a kind of “theatrical framework,” Gabellini notes, for a company with an array of women’s and men’s product categories and flexible programs. Visitors are greeted by a rose gold and limestone–faced entrance and a fumed oak door with a cablelike bronze door handle—rich elements that embody the brand’s aesthetic. “The space has both masculine and feminine qualities at the same time,” Gabellini Sheppard senior associate Silvia Maffei explains. And with the company especially rooted in New York, Evan Yurman made it a point to the Gabellini Sheppard team that he “didn’t want the space to feel European,” Maffei adds. Maintaining a link to the Yurmans’s American sense of modernity was key.
To draw customers into the narrow site and up to the higher floors—where the bridal collection and VIP lounges are—the client requested a scheme that created “a sense of meandering,” Gabellini says. Curved displays on the ground floor encourage movement, aided by a dramatic floor of dark stone and paler marble slabs that swirls “like a river running through the space.” That sense of flow is mirrored by a ceiling of Danish oak planks that was fabricated in Italy and shipped in panels. “It’s warm and accessible, with a kind of beating rhythm,” the architect continues. Both the floor and ceiling patterns are concentric to gently echo the brand’s iconic Cable jewelry collection.
After a trip up the central staircase, past the mezzanine containing the bridal and additional women’s collections, the ultimate destinations for the meandering visitor are the two client lounges, one for men and one for women. This is where the flagship’s residential feel is most apparent, as well as the Yurmans’s love for American and Scandinavian modernism. The men’s lounge, for example, pairs a Hans Wegner armchair with pieces by Charles and Ray Eames.
Key to the plan, says the Gabellini Sheppard team, are choices that allow the store to be transformed multiple times per year to accommodate private events and changing product presentations. Rich-toned fabric panels—velvet for the ground floor, wool above—along with artisanal plaster walls act as a luxe backdrop for rotating artworks, video screens, and vitrines. “The cases are basically plug-and-play,” Gabellini states. Similar fine details throughout the project subconsciously delineate space. In the women’s areas, the silver travertine surfaces of tables and casegoods—displaying necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings in 14 and 18K white, yellow, and rose gold, a palette similar
to that of the store’s entryway—have a rolled edge, while in men’s, they have a reversed profile. “Like many of our pieces, all the jewelry is hand-crafted,” Maffei says, admitting to being surprised by the brand’s level of materiality. “The quality is quite striking.”
For Gabellini, the shared goal with David Yurman’s internal teams was a modular system ideal for presenting small, precious objects at risk of disappearing in such a grand space. “This was not a project where we started with an onion, and peeled back layers. Instead, we were growing the onion from the inside-out,” he says, describing his process. “That’s how the space created the right framing device for this micro world.”
Aided by all the modularity, the flagship is being used as a template for the next generation of David Yurman locations around the world. Up to 75 percent of the design is able to be prefabricated, so it can be repeated easily, a ratio that’s high for comparable projects, Gabellini says, and especially impressive when taking into account the materials and craftsmanship involved. “It’s a concept,” he says fittingly, “that should last a generation.”
Kimberly Sheppard; Ozlem Akcay; Kentaro Ishihara; Xin Yang; Gulay Dukkanci; Christine Kim: Gabellini Sheppard Associates. CallisonRTKL: Architect of Record. Dot Dash: Lighting Consultant. Effearredi: Woodwork. L’Artigiano: Plasterwork. Rosini Engineering: MEP. Sweet Construction Group: General Contractor.
Product Sources: Through 1stDibs: Lounge Chair (Women’s VIP). Erik Jørgensen through Danish Design Store: Armchair (Men’s VIP). Modern Classics Furniture: Sofa. Herman Miller: Side Chairs. Minotti: Guest Chairs (Women’s VIP). Throughout: Dinesen: Wood Supplier. Continental Marble: Stone Supplier. Tailor-Made Textiles: Custom Rugs.