The Piano Factory in New York is the show space for Prada Resort 2019. In 2002, the transformation of a former piano factory into the Prada Headquarters building in New York was the first project to be realized by Herzog & de Meuron for Prada. It was a kind of a striptease of the existing building: all architectural elements were removed so only the naked concrete structure remained.
The Piano Factory is chosen for the Prada Resort 2019 fashion show because it opens the door into a New York Prada world which is unknown to everybody, and because it offers ideal spaces on the ground floor, on the upper floors and ultimately on the roof top. The show takes place on floor 7. Here, the building’s naked structure with its expressive concrete pillars becomes visible: a space of powerful sculptural beauty. The space is kept as open and empty as possible for the fashion show. Only one new element is added to the space: large floating panels adapted from the size of the existing windows that define the space from the outside. The semi-transparent panels reflect the cityscape outside and thus transfer images of the real city deep inside the space of the show. In addition to the real image of the city, other images of virtual cityscapes are projected onto the panels. The models walking the runway also appear on the panel surfaces. The result is an intriguing mix of inside and outside, of analogical and virtual realities.
The show’s start time is early evening, 6.30 pm, with daylight outside. The panels are arranged to either allow for or block out the daylight. Artificial light enhances reflection and transparency within the red, dark silver, and black show space. To enhance the artificiality and to contrast with the sunset outside, at 7.55 pm, red panels and a lighting system installed on the windows create an “augmented sunset” atmosphere.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2018