The essence of luxury lines the building. When you enter, a concierge greets you, sales associates await, and flat-screen televisions are always on in the living-room style arrangements with newspapers spread out on coffee tables. Complimentary croissants, gourmet sandwiches, chocolates, espresso, and cold drinks (catered by Dean & Deluca) are part of the experience. There is a giant video installation composed of six-screens-wide by two-screens-tall to give the facility a stadium-type feel, with riveting driving scenes alternating across the full color display. Is this a five-star hotel? Hardly. It’s the experience provided to all customers at the New York City flagship of one of the most iconic name brands in the automobile industry worldwide. The Mercedes-Benz Manhattan dealership and service center, located on 11th Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets in Hell’s Kitchen, is a 330,000-square-foot state of the art facility and the cornerstone of Mercedes-Benz USA’s retail operations.
This isn’t any ordinary car dealership. Developed by Two Trees Management, Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is positioned at the base of Mercedes House, named after the luxury car brand. Two Trees’ Mercedes House is a 900-unit luxury rental building with a private outdoor park, between the two structures, as part of an amenity package that includes a health club, swimming pool, bocce court, and children’s play area. Two Trees chairman David Walentas thought branding the building with the car company seemed right.
While the zig-zagged terraced Mercedes House luxury rental project above the dealership, designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos, grabs a lion’s share of the attention, the $220 million Mercedes-Benz dealership still might be the best retail design addition to the New York streetscape since the Prada store hit SoHo or Ralph Lauren built his retail mansion on Madison Avenue. Before this brilliant all glass structure, this neighborhood was often a pass-through for cab drivers and commuters looking for a faster route around West Side Highway traffic. Now there is a reason to stop and take notice.
“They were looking for a new space that could make a grand statement, and we had one,” said Walentas. “I thought branding as Mercedes was a natural, as the building would be known as Mercedes no matter what we called it. We knew this neighborhood needed something special to get people over here, and we think we have a sensational design by Enrique Norten.”
Servicing over 30,000 of the most discerning shoppers in the world, this is not a franchise. Instead, this is the company-owned crown jewel of the Mercedes-Benz retail outlets for the United States. Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is the only major car dealership on the stretch that has enough space to showcase their full-lineup of 22 cars in succession. The massive, ten-foot-wide panes of ultra-clear monolithic glass allow sweeping views inside to the cars with minimal visual interruptions. Design and technology are key marketing factors in Mercedes’ global strategy.
Photo Credit: www.dimcom.com
The building had to reflect that focus, not only from the inside, but also on the exterior to market the vehicles to potential customers who passed by. That’s why architect TEN Arquitectos relied on the expert glaziers at W&W Glass to provide the “Wow factor” and functionality equal to the Mercedes-Benz worldwide allure.
W&W Glass determined the best way to provide clear viewing of the new Mercedes-Benz cars was by letting the product make the statement using a transparent Pilkington Planar™ structural glass system with Pilkington Optiwhite low-iron monolithic tempered glass for the face glass attached to Optiwhite low-iron monolithic tempered fins. The system utilized 905 series countersunk stainless steel fittings to mechanically secure the face glass to the fins.
By combining Pilkington Planar™ with the vertical range of products available from Pilkington, one of the world’s largest glass makers, superior system performance on both functional and aesthetic levels can be equal to the quality exemplified on the Mercedes-Benz project.
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W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.