Facade Fit for Fashion Icon

April 26, 2024

The iconic luxury brand Louis Vuitton sited its first freestanding men’s specialty store in the U.S. in Miami’s Design District. Obviously, making a splash in one of the most stylish neighborhoods in Magic City was critical and so the design team at AGA-NYC partnered with MG McGrath, an architectural sheet metal contractor who specializes in custom architectural exterior enclosure systems. The idea was to create an ornate façade that would catch the eye and garner the approval of even LV’s most discerning clientele. The team created an award-winning exterior façade that featured an intricate, custom pattern carved into metal panels.

“The exterior of the store is where the architects, AGA-NYC, and the owners wanted to express the elegance and prestige of the brand,” says Mike P. McGrath, son of the firm’s founder and head of operations. 

The pattern decorating the building exterior is described by its designer Marcel Wanders as an architectural rework of the brand’s iconic Diamond Screen pattern. To achieve this incredible visual, the emblematic Louis Vuitton monogram was reinterpreted in a modernist architectural style and laser-cut into the metal. In total, MG McGrath fabricated and installed 5,000 sq. ft. of this patterned plate paneling. 

The white metal screen was affixed over the top of the in-place concrete façade. Rather than being a flat surface, the screen’s sculptural form is augmented by several projecting window boxes that extend over the sidewalk below, enhancing the pattern and creating a sense of movement.

The play of light and shadow also create a dynamic presence on the façade—day and night. The exterior assembly features an 11-in. gap between the metal screen and the concrete façade. During the day, shadows shift in relation to the position of the sun. At night, 500 RGB LED track lights concealed in the structure wash the exterior in color-changing light.

The Metal Construction Association awarded the store first place in the custom ornamental category, giving its prestigious MCA Design Awards for Excellence in Metal Architecture to MG McGrath at METALCON ’22.

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