Louis Vuitton ION Global Store / 2009

DesignerFront Inc

Structural EngineerRSP

Services EngineerFerrier Chan & Partners


Façade ContractorGartner

The façade, designed and engineered by Front from initial concept through construction administration, is approximately 34 ft (10.5 meters) tall by 148 ft (45 meters) long and is comprised of 180 custom kiln-cast and heat curved glass panels. Each textured kiln-cast panel is precisely slump-curved into either a C-curve, S-curve or double-S-curved shape. The assembled panels exhibit a continuous tangential curvature that resembles a rippling glowing glass curtain. The overall phenomenological effect is one of softness, pliancy and movement.

A full height visual mock-up was constructed to test the fabrication process and further investigate the textures and finishes. This project is particularly notable for its combined use of sophisticated computational methods as well as the use of artisanal fabrication processes.  Front’s design necessitated innovative fabrication and modeling techniques, such as associative digital modeling with CATIA software and CNC output, in conjunction with more traditional artisanal techniques, such as kiln-cast and slump curved glass. The digital modeling methods allowed for inconsistencies between base building drawings and surveyed as-built conditions to be addressed by adjusting the façade profile in the CATIA model and then delivering updated design drawings to the façade contractor in time for fabrication, shipping and installation.