The Hirshleifers shoe store in Manhasset New York designed by Sergio Mannino Studio is a subtle reference and an homage to the world of art and design history, mainly Italian and American.
It is indeed a space for a dialogue between the rigorous and precise minimalism alluding to the art of several American figures such as Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre or Donald Judd and the rich, sensual, decadent, unpredictable and free world of the Radical Design groups that changed the course of design in Italy from the late sixties to the eighties.
Sergio Mannino negotiates masterfully between the tendencies of each style– to create surprising effects that contain continuity within the contradictions. The rigorous formalism of the minimalists is challenged by unexpected elements like a glass case sitting on a sofa (a reference to a 1967 piece by Italian Architect Gio Ponti), a neon sculpture gently curved but burning in white artificial light (another reference to Italian art, this time, Lucio Fontana’s Concetti Spaziali); a bloody red wall that sets the backdrop of the scene.
As in a theater nothing in the store is real or natural: the floor has woodgrain but is made of ceramic tiles; the Fjord red stones by Moroso are soft and upholstered in fabric and leather; the biomorphic and the geometric shapes in the space are embedded in heavy, shiny lacquers or neon lighting, yet the result is noisy silence, indeed a statement.