Joann Tan , Joann Tan studio
“Our studio is responsible for all the displays at Sweden’s NK department store, both in the windows and within the store. We’re commissioned by the marketing department and our job is to interpret their requirements in a way that maintains NK’S status as a leading department store. Both sides have to compromise in one way or another, that’s why it’s important we always keep an open dialogue. If you ask me, a window display is an invite into the shop and one of the oldest techniques to demonstrate what can be purchased. I love the magic of transforming an illustration on a piece of paper to three-dimensional reality. Simon Boonan, who does the windows for Barneys, inspires me even though we have a different style. I think I’ve already done my dream project for NK. It was the spring display in 2011 which followed a kind of “tour de force” theme. We used all the materials and techniques I’ve gathered in my career. Last year’s Christmas decoration was my favourite so far, even though I don’t quite understand the whole symbolism of it as a foreigner.”
window creation at Tiffany & Company. And while Andy Warhol incorporated his pop-art into his design of the fashion windows at Bonwit Teller’s department store in the 1960s, the internet pioneer Candy Pratt Price gained acclaim for creating the visual concept for Bloomingdale’s legendary windows and displays the following decade. Still inspiring window dressers today, Simon Doonan’s creations for Barney’s in the mid 1980s are one the most talked about ones in the industry. Including Salvador Dalí, Yayoi Kusama, David Lynch, Jonathan Horowitz, a number of artists, scenographs and technical geniuses have collaborated with brands, shops and designers in creating enchanting and innovative windows that erase the line between merchandise and art. On top of the ones mentioned, there are several other department stores whose window displays never fail to impress, such as Selfridges and Harrods in London, the neighbours Printemps and Galeri Lafayette in Paris, the chain La Rinascente located in Italy’s major cities including Rome and Milan, and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
“IF YOU ASK ME, A WINDOW DISPLAY IS AN INVITE INTO THE SHOP.”
NK, Resisting the Winds of Change, Joann Tan Studio, 2011.