in a relatively short period of time, a stratum of wealthy russians emerged and became one europe's most voracious consumers of luxury goods, and despite their homeland's many economic woes of late, that segment remains surprisingly flourishing. it's particularly evident in the retail landscape of moscow, but also in st. petersburg luxury retailers pull out all the stops to keep the swashbuckling shopper demographic happy and come back for more. this is certainly the case with au pont rouge, a storied department store which dates back to pre-russian revolution days. housed in an imposing art nouveau-style building along the moyka river in the heart of town, it reopened last year as the city's leading luxury lifestyle hub, but only after it was extensively renovated. and now, the palatial au pont rouge sees a further, and rather stunning, transformation with the opening of its third and fourth floors.
for this project, new york city-based practice architecture at large was enlisted to create inspiring shopping environs, and dare we say it's a mission that's more than accomplished. interestingly, the design of chief architect rafael de cárdenas has placed circular changing area at the very centre of both floors, allowing a less traditional and flexible lay-out that adapts to different configurations, pop-ups and other events, all below matchingly futuristic canopies of shiny metal. au pont rouge carries top brands from around the planet, but also cool russian labels, and these newly revealed floors present a quirky selection of men's and womens's apparel. currently in stock are coveted names, such as rick owens, alena akhmadullina, maison margiela, cédric charlier and gosha rubchinskiy. location: au pont rouge, naberezhnaya reki moiki 73, third and fourth floors [tsentralniy].
© architecture at large / photography: alexey bogolepov