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Porsche Design Revs its Engines

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Porsche Design is one of those companies that appeals to the gadget-freak male of the species, and its new East Coast flagship (opening this November in, amusingly enough, the General Motors building) takes that ethos to the max. Nearly every body part can be accessorized here, with products from sunglasses to sneakers, as well as pens, watches, luggage, and leather goods created in a new collaboration with Ferragamo. (It’s all part of a relaunch of the company that began in 2003, when Porsche AG—the carmaker—finally bought a majority share in Porsche Design, previously a separate entity.) But here’s the high-tech thing: In the store, all those little items are attached to radio tags, and shoppers can take them to a special scanning table and read specs and prices on big flat-screen monitors. After-hours, passersby can use a touch control embedded in the store’s window to do the same. The whole space is the work of architect Matteo Thun, whom design junkies will know as a co-founder of the Memphis Group—though he’s evolved quite a bit, rejecting Memphis’s madly colorful geometry in favor of black slate floors and smoked oak. No automobiles here, but there’s no better symbol of the remade company than the luggage: It’s all small enough to fit in a Porsche trunk.

Porsche Design
Madison Ave. at 59th St.; opens November 2005.


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