We’re always thrilled to bring you the joy of the holiday season via our Madison Avenue windows, and if you’ll forgive a bit of humble-bragging, we’re especially proud of the work done by our team and the bevy of artists and artisans who’ve come together to create Chillin’ Out—the theme for this year’s holiday extravaganza. Embracing the chill that typically accompanies this magical time of year, our New York flagship’s windows celebrate winter by bringing one crucial element of the outdoors inside: ICE. We’ve transformed two of our displays into giant walk-in freezers perfect for creating the chilly stuff and for displaying the handiwork of master craftsmen working with the medium. The two remaining windows draw their inspiration from ice, showcasing the work of world-renowned artists from a variety of fields and bringing the season’s merriment to passersby.
Under the direction of Creative Director Dennis Freedman, our visual team brought their uniquely icy vision to life by partnering with some of the world’s most creative makers: renowned artist Dale Chihuly, luxury automaker Lexus, Utah-based Ice Castles, the artist collective Okamoto Studios, the powerhouse animators from Invisible Light Network, and technological miracle-worker Christie THREE SIXTY.
“The Chillin’ Out windows have been among the most creatively ambitious that our team has designed,” Freedman told us. “We’ve challenged ourselves to reach new heights in terms of technical achievements, but ultimately it’s the beauty and visual impact that really counts.”
Scroll on for a closer look at each of these gorgeous installations, and don’t miss the video above showing how the magic came to life. Spread the word, and if you’re in New York this holiday season, be sure to swing by Barneys to take in the wonder for yourself! Snap a pic, take a selfie, or post a video—just be sure to use #BNYChillinOut!
“Winter Brilliance” by Dale Chihuly
Famed for his larger-than-life blown glass installations around the world, artist Dale Chihuly took our wintry theme to heart in the creation of a site-specific piece entitled “Winter Brilliance.” Featuring more than 700 hand-blown glass elements, the piece represents frigid winters and takes the form of a grand crystalline explosion set above a reflecting pool. The final result gives the impression of ice crystals frozen midair.
Barneys partnered with Christie THREE SIXTY to light the piece through the use of 3D digital mapping onto Chihuly’s sculpture. Choreographed effects are projected onto the glass, creating the illusion of moonlight on snow and ice, melding into a fiery display of vibrant reds and yellows. The transition of light elements adds a fluid and kinetic quality to the piece, all the more so when paired with a modern adaptation of a score by Claude Debussey, one of Chihuly’s favorite composers.
Meet Penny, the high-octane, thrill-loving, and very chill penguin who’s so cool, she inspired her own window, “Arctic Chase.” The Barneys team partnered with Lexus to reimagine the classic childhood “Penguin Chase” toy that sends the chilly birds around a track, blowing it up into a full-size racecourse through an icy mountainscape. Three crystal-encrusted penguins perch atop 3D-printed scale models of Lexus IS, GS F, and RC F cars, racing around a translucent track. The action is accompanied by an animated short by Invisible Light Network entitled “Stay Cool,” which tells the story of Penny, our penguin heroine, racing her nefarious opponents.
Known for creating large-scale, immersive ice formations set on the tops of frigid mountains, we challenged Utah-based Ice Castles to craft an installation within the confines of a Madison Avenue display. And to aid them in this task, we turned two of the windows into a fully functioning walk-in freezer. This one-of-a-kind ice locker was custom designed and built to maintain the optimal conditions for ice, and from there, it was a little matter of two weeks of 24/7 care by three ‘ice farmers’ and 500 gallons of water to grown and harvest more than 2000 individual icicles. The whole structure receives a steady mist of water, allowing the shapes to morph and grown over the course of the installation. Add to this choreographed lighting in translucent shades of blue, green, red, and purple, plus an original musical score by Hannis Brown, and the final result transports the audience to the depths of a frozen empire.
The Ice Carvers
Taking place within the same custom ice locker as Ice Castles, world-renowned ice carving collective Okamoto Studio brings a live performance element to their window, which serves as a stylized studio-away-from-studio. Decked out in custom gear by Thom Browne for Moncler Gamme Bleu, this team of ice sculptors will be appearing in their glass-fronted studio now through December 31st, transforming blocks of crystal-clear ice into holiday-themed works of art, including our very own penguin, Penny. Stop by the window at the following times to see them in action:
Check back every day through the coming week for more details on each of these amazing windows. And in New York for the holidays? Be sure to swing by Barneys to check them out in person.