Rakks Style Spy – Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

The design and architecture worlds (and the folks at Rakks) are buzzing about Frank Gehry’s design for the arts centre located next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, in the Bois de Boulogne the famous park on the east side of Paris. The center is for a cultural foundation established by the Fondation Louis Vuitton to provide a permanent center for the charitable organization centered around the promotion of contemporary arts both in France and internationally. The building is said to resemble a cloud of glass formed by twelve curving sails, made up of 3,600 glass panels.

A few observations we decided to share.

“Piled up in a staggered heap, these great curved shields twist and turn in the architect’s trademark style, their odd angles poking above the trees, visible for miles around. As if caught in a violent storm, the sails flare open in places to reveal an inner world of white walls, sculpted like whipped meringue, and a dense thicket of steel struts and wooden beams that have been forced into improbable shapes.” The Guardian

“It is a vessel, a fish, a sailing boat, a cloud. It has all the metaphors of smoothness. Sporting a glittering LV logo at the front door, it could also be a gigantic Louis Vuitton perfume bottle, smashed to smithereens.” Frédéric Migayrou, architecture curator at the Pompidou Centre.

“It’s for artists to play with, Daniel Buren wants to paint stripes all over the sails, and I’m hoping children will do drawings that we can enlarge and hang in the space between the sails and the building. It doesn’t look finished, purposefully, to encourage people to interact with it over time.” Frank Gehry

“We just love it.” Rakks

If you are traveling to Paris in the future, you will have the opportunity to visit and feast your eyes on this brilliant structure.

Photo credits: Top Photo: Dezeen. Second Photo: The Fondation Louis Vuitton. Jacques Brinon/AP

November 7th, 2014 | No Comments

Rakks Adds Style and Sophistication
to Hong Kong Haberdashery


The Armoury is a meticulously designed and refined international men’s haberdashery with two locations in central Hong Kong and one in New York City. The stores were established by Alan See, Ethan Newton, and Mark Cho in 2010. The trio shares a passion for classic men’s style. For their Armoury shops, they source products from the world’s most esteemed makers of traditional menswear made with the highest level of integrity and quality.

The architectural team of Greg Yang and Katherine Wong oversaw the design of the shops. For maximum merchandise visibility from floor to ceiling, they combined PC2 poles, L-Bracket shelf supports, J-Hangbars, and Tie Brackets. As part of the overall concept, Yang and Wong incorporated locally supplied custom walnut cabinets and shelves into the Rakks system. The final installation provided an ideal environment for high-quality merchandise to be displayed.


Rakks applauds the creativity and passion of individuals like Armoury’s founders and the talented architectural team. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing founder Mark Cho, who we thank for his time and insights.

1 – Can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in London and have always loved clothes. I used to work in real estate but about 5 years ago, I gave that up and went into clothing, starting with opening The Armoury with Alan See.

2 – How did you discover Rakks?
Rakks was recommended by my architects, Greg Yang and Katherine Wong. Greg has used it before so I trusted his recommendation. We used a bit of it for our shop in NYC but the Hong Kong shops are the best implementation so far.

3 – Can you tell us about The Armoury?
The Armoury specializes in classic men’s clothes. We curate beautifully crafted products from around the world. We go a step further by flying in tailors, shoemakers and shirtmakers to meet our customers in person and take their custom orders.

4 – Why did you think Rakks was a good fit for The Armoury?
Very versatile! Our shop layout is always changing and Rakks keeps up.

5 – Do you have plans to use Rakks in the future?
Yes, though I think it always needs to be customized to get the best out of it in a retail context.

If you are traveling to NYC or Hong Kong in the future, visit The Armoury. If not, you can peruse their on-line store at http://www.thearmourystore.com/us/.

October 16th, 2014 | No Comments

Interview with Ray Olivares, Computer Visualization Artist

Interview with Ray Olivares

At Rakks, we are often contacted by talented designers and architects who envision Rakks in a project they are working on. In this case it was Ray Olivares, a very talented computer visualization artist who sent us this illustration of his proposed Rakks installation in his new Chicago home.

Ray’s illustrations are so realistic they are often mistaken as photographs. That was the case at Rakks, when he sent us this illustration. We did a double take and looked very closely at the screen. This must be a photograph was our response. We were wrong. Ray is a master!

He was kind enough to talk to us – virtually of course – about Rakks. If the finished installation is as impressive as his work, it will be worth the wait.

1. What is a computer visualization artist?
We are the director of photography, the cinematographer and the producer of finished art in a virtual world. People come to us when they have a design that needs to be conveyed. We work closely with our clients to create something out of nothing other than a set of floor plans, elevations, and a whole lot of interpretation.

2. What drew you to this profession and how long have you been doing it?
I was lucky enough to go to school at Texas A&M University in the early 90’s when they had an architecture program that was so ahead of its time. I believe back then there were only two other universities in the US that involved computer generated imagery in the designated architectural design curriculum. I remember we had specialized silicon graphic workstations that were “top of the line” and you could just imagine the primitive technology we were using by today’s standard. I’m talking about 3d studio V2 and adjusting everything in Photoshop V2 which didn’t even have layers back then! Any given program on my iPhone is probably more advanced than those programs.

3. Did you study art and/or design in school?
Yes, the studies at my university were for architectural design. But I feel that so much of what I do incorporates much more than architecture. It’s also photography, time management and an understanding of what’s possible given your technological limitations.

4. What is a typical project for you?
A typical project for me involves a series of renderings for a developer trying to sell an empty marketable space in NY or Chicago. That’s where the money is and business is business, money is money, etc. I take great pride in making my renderings photo-realistic, appealing and giving the client exactly what they want. But I’ll admit, the most fun and insane projects were the ones you have to be sworn to secrecy over. I once had to live in an artist’s NYC SOHO studio for a month to animate a video of collected elements in his paintings that he was exhibiting for his opening. I won’t divulge what exactly I witnessed, but P.T. Barnum would be proud!

5. Do you have any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I’m currently working on a few projects that I think are coming out amazingly. The latest being a rendering for a residential space in NYC. It has a very 20th century modern aesthetic. It’s just my style. You’ll recognized the aesthetic and my personal style in my apartment rendering.

Interview with Ray Olivares

6. How did you discover Rakks?
I’ve had Rakks systems in my home for the past 7 years. I lived in a tiny apartment in NYC with 8 foot ceilings. Then I “upgraded” to a 9 foot ceiling. Now I live in Chicago and I have much more room and a 10 foot ceiling. Thankfully Rakks has extensions I can order. In my new space, I am installing Rakks Spring Compression Poles with Rakks Brackets and I am also using Rakks Brackets as bookends.

In the rendering, you can see my personal photography on the wall. I also plan do have that printed and mounted. They’re pretty much from my Instagram account.

7. Do you have a photo of the finished project?
I don’t have a photo of the finished project yet. I’m still so inundated with work at my new place that I haven’t had time to set up my furniture. My very good friend just drove my belongings from Brooklyn to Chicago. Most importantly, my stuff is here!

Thank you Ray! We look forward to seeing the final installation.

October 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

Enjoy Grounded Visionaries Design Weekend!

Grounded Visionaries Design Weekend
Rakks wishes everyone attending this inspiring series of conversations and events celebrating design a wonderful weekend. We are pleased to have played a supporting role in the event.

September 12th, 2014 | No Comments

Throwback Thursday – Ivy League Projects

In honor of Throwback Thursday, we have decided to reach into our archives to showcase one of our favorite Ivy League school projects. This exhibition of the Evolution of Design was created by the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2011 with the help of Rakks custom counter brackets and stands.

Harvard Graduate School of Design

To celebrate 75 years of design, the Harvard Graduate School of Design created an incredible exhibition consisting of 120 display boxes, chronicling the school’s progress beginning in 1936 and included the progress of the design world at large. “Organized into six thematic categories: Design as Research, Design as Critique, City as Process, City as Form, The Continuous Institution, and The Shifting Institution, each section contained dispatches that spoke to a greater set of themes spanning all of the School’s programs and departments, various media, and all seventy-five of the School’s years. In momentarily stopping the clock, this exhibition enlivened the GSD, and Harvard University at large, with the engagement and propulsion that the past can offer us today and tomorrow” (Peter Christensen (PhD ’14), Curatorial Director).

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard Graduate School of Design worked with Dan Borelli and Douglas Jack of the Exhibit Team under a tight deadline, Rakks was able to supply custom counter brackets and stands to support the exhibit’s display boxes and tables. Cut and welded at custom angles, the Rakks brackets allowed the display boxes to be installed at a variety of angles for both visual impact and easy viewing of the articles and information presented.

At Rakks, we love to see our products used in creative and innovative ways, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design continually strives to embrace creativity and innovation. On September 12th and 13th the GSD is gathering luminaries of the industry for “Grounded Visionaries” groundedvisionaries.com – a symposium of innovation. This gathering promises to underscore the GSD’s reputation as the most widely ambitious, experimental and optimistic design schools in the world.

September 4th, 2014 | No Comments

Shelving From Boston
Lighting Designer's Loft Space

Boston-area lighting designer and fabricator Joey Nicotera’s loft needed to reflect his imagination. This is no small task for someone who has had...

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