Manolo Blahnik’s Emporium in Moscow

Having designed several stores internationally for chic footwear label Manolo Blahnik, when London-based Data Nature Associates turned their creative vision to the brand’s new emporium in Moscow’s Tretiakov Plaza, they sought to re-imagine traditional Russian motifs within a glamorous contemporary scheme.

The concept was to introduce a contrast, displaying the collections in all their of-the-moment beauty while capturing the romantic yet rustic charm of the classic Dacha cottage. This architectural homage was realised through a combination of ebonized wood cladding complemented by the delicate beauty of white Russian lace as recreated in wall panels made from DuPont(tm) Corian(R), the multi-talented, hi-tech surface that has also earned iconic status as a ‘must-have’ brand.

The panels in DuPont(tm) Corian(R) create a softly feminine, almost fairytale effect and form a striking backdrop against which to display shoe designs that are the stuff of every dedicated fashionista’s dreams. Created using CNC laser-cut technology, the panels frame the main door and line the 15m catwalk style entrance, the cut-out lace effect adding a touch of discretion and mystery.

Nick Leith-Smith of Data Nature Associates explains the inspiration: “In Russian, the term lace or kruzhevo means ‘to encircle’, a process which initiated the design response to this location in the form of two encompassing boxes, one within the other. The outer box embodies the traditional Dacha element in its vertical wood screens separating the window displays from private seating chambers whilst the inside box replicates the intimacy of lace with its panels in DuPont(tm) Corian(R) that define the main display area and circulation zone. The gilded leaf motifs on the legs of the furniture and the floral lace effect further enhance the nostalgic theme. The shoes whimsically hang on the vertical timber screens as if climbing the soaring heights of the pine forests.”

“DuPont(tm) Corian(R) was chosen for this application because of its ideal combination of ethereal translucency, structural rigidity without being too brittle, great tooling capabilities and a network of global supply and expertise in working with the material,” continues Nick.


About Data Nature Associates: Data Nature Associates is a design and architecture studio, Established in 2000 by Nick Leith-Smith and Kristina Hulsebus Blahnik. The studio focuses on creating practical innovative environments and buildings for its clients and end users. Our specific creative approach is based on a collaborative and research based process, the success of which has led to a diverse range of projects including: buildings, interiors, furniture, products and graphic design. Kristina Hulsebus Blahnik, MA(Cantab) AADipl ARB RIBA, studied architecture at Cambridge University and the Architectural Association. Nicholas Leith-Smith, BArch(Mac) AADipl, studied architecture at the Mackintosh School in Glasgow and the Architectural Association.

About DuPont(tm) Corian(R) ( – First marketed as a high performance solution for kitchen and bathroom worktops, DuPont(tm) Corian(R) is now a leading global brand in superior quality surfacing materials for design, architecture and furnishing, a solution chosen worldwide by many dozens of thousands of architects, designers and companies and by millions of consumers.
The continuous efforts, the investment and the creativity of DuPont in research and technology, product innovation, new applications development and marketing have made DuPont(tm) Corian(R) a design tool offering exceptional versatility and almost limitless possibilities for producing high quality, effective, functional and reliable solutions addressed to residential, public and commercial environments, both indoor and outdoor. From kitchens to lamps, from bathrooms to the skin of buildings, from seatings to domotic systems, from radiators to touch control surfaces, from tables to furnishing and fashion accessories, to mention just a few…: the “magic” of DuPont(tm) Corian(R) can be found today in an extremely wide variety of products, systems and objects that everyone uses or experiences in daily life. And the list keeps on growing… 

DuPont(tm) Corian(R) (the whole range or to specific types) has received important independent certifications for its environmental performance (like GreenGuard(R), NAHB North American Builders Association, U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED(R) Green Building Rating System, ISO 14025 Green Choice, Scientific Certification Systems for the series with recycled content). Its hygienic performance has also been certified by prestigious independent institutions (for example, by NSF International, The Royal Institute of Public Health and LGA QualiTest).

About DuPont – DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont oval logo, DuPont(tm) and Corian(R) are registered trademarks or trademarks of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company Inc. or its affiliated companies. Other logos, trademarks or registered trademarks are a property of their respective owners.


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