top of page

Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City | 2019 Design Award Winner

Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City Cellar, Levels 1 and 2 Saks Store Planning and Gensler

Gensler and Saks Store Planning and Design teams blended the company’s classic heritage with modern aesthetics to reposition the iconic department store as the new standard of luxury shopping. Saks sought to convert the cellar storage area into a retail space and increase the size of the luxury handbag department on the main floor which resulted in the revolutionary migration of beauty to the second floor. In all, 174,523 square feet of space.


The cellar level is home to The Vault, which is a new destination for high-end jewelry and watches. The space includes vault doors, safety box-inspired sculptures, metal textures, and rich leather accents. Terrazzo flooring, complemented by colorful custom-made rugs, unite the cellar level with the two floors above. Saks’ iconic heritage is modernized on the first floor through powerful simplicity and architectural juxtaposition. Rich materiality and signature elements, such as folded metal origami-inspired tables and glass fixtures, surround customers as they enter the store and are guided down runway-inspired aisles. The three-story atrium space includes dedicated zones for launches, visual merchandising, pop-ups, and live performances. From the first floor, bold geometric light covers signal the beauty department on the second floor.

Reinforcing the New York flagship as a one-of-a-kind luxury destination, the design preserves and highlights neoclassical elements, such as the store’s Corinthian columns and plaster beams, which are emphasized by the integration of modern design details. Elements like metal, stone, and glass help unify the cellar, first, and second levels which also have an intentional gradation from dark to light as one’s eye ascends the feature floors.

Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City Cellar, Levels 1 and 2 611 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10022 USA

Category: Department Store Completion: September 4, 2019 Design: Client: Hudson’s Bay Company, Toronto Architect: Gensler, New York City Consultants, contractors and trades: Gilbane, New York City (general contractor); Thornton Tomasetti, New York City (structural engineer); Avcon Engineering PC, New York City (MEP engineer); Kugler Ning Lighting Design (lighting design), New York City; Oculus Light Studio (lighting design), Los Angeles; Karen Pearse Global Design, New York City (custom terrazzo); Mannington Commercial, Calhoun, Ga. (vinyl flooring); Situ Studio, Brooklyn (carved wood); Bendheim, New York City (decorative glass); Sensitile, Ypsilanti, Mich. (glass0: Faubion, Jim Gallagher, Dallas (fixturing); One x One, Osaka (fixturing); Decorfin, New York City (plaster); Vitruve, Long Island City, N.Y. (plaster); Fresco, New York City, (plaster); Moruzzi, Montréal (stone); CODE Impex, Livingston, N.J. (stone); Schenk, Deer Park, N.Y. (wood laminate); Junkers Hardwood, New York City (wood flooring); Mafi USA, New York City (wood flooring)


bottom of page