Showing Versace: ‘designs must be neither invisible nor invasive’

New York City – ‘We started working with Versace in 2017, supplying retail displays for their stores around the world,’ says Carlotta Caruso, EC Studio USA co-founder. ‘Now, with the restyling of Versace’s 5th Avenue store, they asked us to do all of the accessories stands, jewellery kits and trays.’ When it comes to designing product displays for windows and in-store, it can be challenging to balance bold or attention-grabbing characteristics with an understated quality that keeps the focus where it belongs – on the merchandise. We speak to Caruso on EC Studio’s approach for Versace.

So EC Studio created all the displays for accessories in Versace 5th Avenue?
CARLOTTA CARUSO: Yes, it’s a long list. Our Italian office designed and produced the displays for eyewear, wallets, bags, shoes, belts, necklaces, and the kits and trays you can use to create different product compositions.

Everything is designed to accommodate different kinds of products while working together in concert; for instance, the shoe and belt displays are flexible so Versace can use them for both women’s and men’s items. The jewellery kits are modular, with a magnetic base for easy and convenient rearrangement of eyewear, rings, bracelets and watches, wallets, and earrings in different combinations.

Were any of the products customized for the space?
We worked with Versace to create a unique combination of finishes: light-gold in the metallic pieces and a luxurious, grey kind of tan leather.

The focus should be on the product

How did you arrive at the material palette?
We have a continuous process of research and study towards innovation and new materials. I would say that we pay particular attention to the intrinsic characteristics of a material – for example we focus on the strength, production techniques and treatments of metal, or on the quality of leather. These material qualities translate directly to the perception of the overall design.

How does this relate to your approach in designing retail displays – objects that aren’t necessarily meant to be noticed?
It is our philosophy that the focus should be on the product – our designs are the tools, not the subject. It takes a lot of research and development to create displays that perfectly fit the different shapes and materials of the retail accessories. We go through a lot of prototypes to create designs that are complementary and non-invasive.

EC Studio is an Italian design company with a presence in the USA, specializing in the design and production of displays for accessories.

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