Drom Fragrances International
No. Of Floors:
144 Duane Street, New York, NY
The project was to create a satellite facility in lower Manhattan for DROM Fragrances International. The site was the ground floor and sub-cellar level of a mixed- use landmark building dating from the 1850’s with 17-foot ceiling heights. The program required an area for perfumers to meet with corporate clients, a fragrance laboratory to create samples, a sampling area, a work area for the marketing and odor evaluation groups, and support functions.
The facility is intended to generate a buzz from the street and function as a creative center for the perfumers to meet with clients; while also satisfying the technical demands of a laboratory environment. The design solution was to create a fragrance bar, laboratory, and smelling on different three levels, two of which are below the street. The ground floor level houses the fragrance bar, conference room, and open work areas. The new cellar mezzanine level contains a sealed laboratory with 60 air changes per hour under constant negative pressure, to prevent odors from escaping. It is structurally isolated from the pre-existing building to prevent vibrations from disturbing extremely sensitive laboratory scales. The sub-cellar level has smelling booths to sample the fragrances, a cafeteria, and cold storage rooms. Natural daylight and views from the street are allowed to penetrate the glass ceiling of the laboratory and filter down the stair to the sub-cellar 17 feet below grade.
From the street pedestrians are drawn to the storefront by the fluid forms of the undulating raw materials display wall and fragrance bar. These wavelike forms with crests and troughs suggest motion and energy, while the sculptural conference room is suggestive of a perfume bottle. Inside the storefront a glass floor reveals the fragrance laboratory below on the cellar mezzanine level. While clients meet with the perfumers to order a “fragrance cocktail” at the fragrance bar, they can draw inspiration from the raw materials displayed on the backlit shelves behind the perfumers. Clients are invited to view the creation process of their fragrance cocktail in the fragrance laboratory on the cellar level mezzanine below from a glass enclosed stair which leads them to the lowest sub-cellar level, where the 4 glowing porthole windows of the smelling booths beckon clients to sample their new scents.
The fragrance bar is designed with concealed exhaust fans at every perfumer’s station and is integrated with the laboratory and smelling booth exhaust system. All exhaust is filtered by a bioclimatic filter underneath the sidewalk before being ducted to the roof of the 6 story building. With design sensitivity and care, a technically state-of- the-art laboratory can be accommodated in a historic landmark structure. The three dimensional open plan and the fragrance bar provide a creative, stimulating environment which fosters collaboration between perfumers and clients and perfumers and laboratory technicians. The sophisticated laboratory allows for an odorless environment to support the creative process.