Client

Louis Vuitton

Architects

DKStudio

Glazier

Just Aluminum & Glass

Glass Supplier

Pilkington

Laminate Supplier

Eastman

Louis Vuitton – Yorkdale Flagship

AGNORA a leading fabricator of oversized, high-quality architectural glass in North America recently produced a stunning array of oversized units for one of the worlds foremost luxury retailers, Louis Vuitton, Yorkdale. The company, known for its prestige and high-end luxury soft goods, operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores.

Each Louis Vuitton store is unique, thoughtfully blending the worlds of fashion, art and architecture while incorporating regional culture into their designs. The Yorkdale store carries on this spirit of design, mixing innovative materials, imagery, and lighting to create an ultra-modern experience for its customers while still paying homage to the brands legacy.

The Design

The 9800 square foot store, features an incredible 25’ tall metal and LED feature “wall.” This eye-catching display incorporates custom metal fabrication backed by colour changing LED’s that highlight the Louis Vuitton motif in an unforgettable way. The inspiring storefront features approximately 2200 sq.ft of custom flat glass, soaring to a maximum height of 24 ¼’ and incorporates a printed frit – snow etch.

Allowing the LED’s incredible light display to present flawlessly, means that optical clarity of the glass is crucial, it must present with perfect visibility. Low iron, Pilkington Optiwhite was the substrate of choice to manage colour neutrality, while a sensible Eastman PVB interlayer DG41-XC was selected to laminate the 12mm piece together.

Overall, the inner and outer lites totalled 24mm thick, plus interlayer ranging in size up to an amazing 112” X 291”.

Custom notches were CNC’d into each lite to fit seamlessly with [Just Aluminum and Glass’] glazing system.

The Challenges

- Printed Frit – Snow Etch

Louis Vuitton’s printed frit was not just any custom painted glass. AGNORA utilized its one-of-a-kind digital ceramic printer, The DipTech NerA D to customize the frit applied to the glass.

The frit itself was one of a kind, created by AGNORA’s resident print specialist Joe Lindsey.

“We created a new digital process that effectively reduces the opacity of the inks, creating a soft semi-translucent ‘frost’ on the glass,” say Lindsey.

Traditionally, a “frosted crystal” look is achieved by applying a pressure sensitive vinyl (psv) to glass post processing or at the installation site. Though this often will suffice for an office environment, the quality, consistency, and durability of look is vastly more important to a company such as Louis Vuitton.

Lindsey says it best, “When it comes to a seamless, high-quality look, printing directly to glass is the way to go. Visually, it matches in tone and feels like its part of the glass substrate (which it is). The durability aspect is also huge. Since the frit is tempered right into the glass it is largely indestructible, you must scratch the glass to scratch the print, and if you scratch the glass, you have bigger problems on your hands, such as a replacement lite. PSV just won’t hold up for a company or be perfect enough for a discerning client such as Louis Vuitton.”

- Heat Strengthening vs Tempering

Given the custom nature of the setting, in conjunction with the lighting characteristics and keeping in mind the allowable deflection on the glass dimensions heat strengthening provides deflection minimization while managing the concavity from the heat treatment process.

The Outcome

While mixing modern and traditional applications this storefront becomes a beacon welcoming customers and leaving a mark on the tradition of bold designs put forth by Louis Vuitton. A showstopper to be sure, executed with precision detail and high-end innovative outcomes the brand is known for.