New York City


“The idea for a circular stair was in the air since the beginning,” explains Steven Harris, architect of the newly opened Barney’s flagship in downtown New York. The dazzling staircase French designer Andrée Putman created over 30 years ago for the specialty retailer’s original store in the same Chelsea location lingers in the memories of its well-heeled patrons, and is still extant in the neighboring Rubin Museum of Art, which took over a corner of the store after Barney’s left in 1997.

This design, also a showstopper but without Putman’s delicate metal railings, marries beauty and brawn. Inspired by the spiraling stairs of Oscar Niemeyer and Luigi Moretti, Harris unfurls his suspended structure like a white party ribbon spanning four stories as it fills the glass-walled central atrium. Says Harris, “This was the largest void we could create without removing any columns.” Those are irregularly spaced to dodge plumbing in this former residential building, which also features short floor-to-floor heights. “The great virtue of the low ceilings is that the stair didn’t require landings.”

The glass surrounding the stair—on upper floors full height, on lower ones acting as a handrail with a skirt above for a smoke baffle—features two layers of glazing with an interlayer of acrylic. A series of lines silkscreened on the panels— some mirrored, some matte gray—is reminiscent of the work of Agnes Martin and Sol LeWitt. “I wanted that element to be distinct but still allow shoppers to see across it,” says Harris. “The space needed to be coherent.”

Equally important, however, is the sense of spectacle about the stair—a stylish vehicle for seeing and being seen. “After all,” Harris adds, “stores are very social spaces.”


Architect's firm name, address, phone, and fax number:

Steven Harris Architects LLP

50 Warren Street, New York

NY 10007

Phone: 212-587-1108

Fax: 212.385.2932


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Steven Harris – Partner in charge, Registered Architect

Andrea Mason – Project Architect, Registered Architect

Andrea Leung – Designer

Francesco Galetto – Designer

Mig Perkins – Artist


Executive Architect

Lalire March Architects LLP

304 Hudson Street, Suite 603,

New York, NY 10013

p: 212 807 1011

Rex Lalire (Registered Architect) and Daniel McFarland (Registered Architect)


Interior designer:

Lucien Rees Roberts of Rees Roberts & Partners



Structural: Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing: Rosini Engineering



Project Manager for client: JLL

Lighting: Cooley Monato Studio Acoustic: AKRF


General contractor:

JT Magen & Company Inc.



Scott Frances





Structural system




Custom Patterned Glass in atrium: Depp Glass

Glass Engineers: Rice Engineers


Interior finishes

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore & Co.

Wall coverings: Maharam and Phillip Jefferies

Paneling: Custom MDF milled panels, manufacturer: Superl Sequoia Ltd.

Solid surfacing: Kinon laminate, Caesar Stone

Special surfacing: Various marbles used throughout

Floor and wall tile: Custom terrazzo, Montclair Danby Striato from Vermont Quarries



Furniture: Custom design by Rees Roberts & Partners

Upholstery: Christopher Hyland, Donghia, Global Leathers, Maharam, Knoll



Millwork Lighting: Feelux, Loupi Lighting, OptoLum

Downlights: Aculux, Eklipse

Task lighting: Artemide (Cosmetics Floor Only)

Dimming System or other lighting controls: Lutron dimming system in Freds



Elevators: Liberty Elevator Corporation


Door Pulls: Custom design by Artist Mig Perkins and fabricated by Rob Suri at Hamilton Sinkler