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Corporate Architecture: Creating a Brand’s Crown Jewel

Whether purism, elegance, or dynamics, the architecture of a retail store makes a decisive contribution to the brand experience. The materials and finishing techniques of the façade construction specialist seele are numerous. The façade specialist has extensive experience with shopping centers, retail stores, and brand architecture: whether it’s an all-glass front with oversized glass panes for maximum transparency, or other architectural design options with various materials like bronze or mirror-polished stainless steel. Façades made by seele show the aesthetics, technology, and incomparable quality of a brand.

Uniqueness is the attribute of the building envelope that seele creates for world-famous architects. The seele group of companies, with headquarters in Germany, is one of the world’s top addresses for the design and construction of façades and complex building envelopes. The deep understanding of the materials used has resulted in extraordinary solutions made of glass, steel, aluminum, membranes and other high-tech materials.

Exclusive façades for exclusive shopping
The company is known for its all-glass cubes made for Apple retail stores and other flagship stores for other well-known brands, such as Puma or Nike, on famous Fifth Avenue in New York. Besides those, seele realizes huge grid shell roofs for shopping malls all over the globe. The latest giant retail project was realized in Canada: seele installed an iconic all-glass structure at Place Ville Marie in Montreal, QC. An impressive 15m long glass roof, supported by 8-ply glass beams, enables an unimpeded view of the shopping area below. Large-format glazing units create transparency and spaciousness and thus make this an appealing central venue.

Steel-and-glass construction for the PUMA flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Nike High Profile Store: Steel-and-glass façade with a special shape.
© Nike
Looking up through the new roof over food court and shopping mall “Grand Hall”, Place Ville Marie, Montreal.
© Techniverre

Modern materials
Beside all-glass constructions and exclusive glass refinement, seele follows the current material trends in architecture by using the latest production methods. Techniques such as additive manufacturing or the combination of post-processing and patination are giving rise to numerous new design options for bronze, brass, and copper.

A memorable example of seele’s expertise in materials and shapes is the TEC Bridge, an encased pedestrian bridge of circa 35m in length, linking two shopping centers in Toronto, ON. Visually, its design creates a smooth transition between the two buildings. The initially twisted brass portal frames on the historic Hudson’s Bay building side resolve into a stricter glass design language that blends in with the modern architecture of the CF TEC building. The scope of seele’s work encompassed the design, fabrication, and erection of various panes of laminated glass, bronze-colored brass plates, handrails, stainless steel open-grid flooring, and structural steelwork. Owing to the challenging shape of the steel-and-glass design, every brass plate is a one-off in terms of its geometry and the milling work required.

TEC Bridge Toronto: 35m long brass and glass pedestrian bridge connecting two shopping centres.
© Stefen Palam/Studio 433

Whether milling precious metals, mirror-polished or polished stainless steel, or printed glass, seele is very experienced in the surface treatment of metallic and nonmetallic materials. Depending on the alloy, processing, and machining, the design options are very diverse. Not only for building envelopes, but also for interiors.

Brass plates with milling for the TEC Bridge Toronto before the acid bath.
© seele/Bernd Müller

Unique designs for the interior
seele’s expertise in interior design is also unique. All-glass constructions create light-flooded rooms. Imagine glass stairs with minimalistic stainless steel fittings on the steps: the stairs seem to be floating in mid-air. Each step is fitted between a glass stringer and the wall clad in stainless steel. Those all-glass staircases give lightness to space, and balustrades are being built in new dimensions. Almost endless possibilities allow the creation of unique designs. Retail stores made by seele turn the vision of a brand into reality.

Unique all-glass staircases: by minimal use of fittings, staircases appear to be almost weightless.