Professional Jeweler Archive: A Clear Statement

September 2004

Image/Store Design


A Clear Statement

The new Harry W. Yaseen Jewelers sparkles in glass and light


Wearing an ostrich skin watch strap or carrying a handbag of the same uniquely patterned leather connotes individual style. Covering an entire wall of your store with it magnifies the statement and projects an encompassing sense of design chic. That architectural feature in a new store is just part of the reason metropolitan Chicago recognizes Harry W. Yaseen Jewelers as a purveyor of design, style and unique jewelry.

Third-generation retailer Larry Yaseen recently moved the business from Flossmoor, IL, to a new 2,000 sq.-ft. store in Naperville, about an hour northwest of Chicago. (The original store opened in 1910 in Chicago Heights.)

Naperville is blessed with a small downtown of 1940s-1950s-era buildings with character. His store is only steps from the Naperville Riverwalk, a popular spot for evening and weekend strolls along the DuPage River.

A Place for Designers

Naperville also is an economically thriving location that could better support Yaseen’s aspirations to create a store focused on designer pieces. The store includes designer lines such as Alishan, Kurt Wayne, Daniela Swaebe and Yvel. “We’ve always carried designer lines, but the customers for these higher-end pieces have moved,” he says.

While the move addressed one set of needs, Yaseen had to live up to the past glory that was his former store. Designed in the 1970s by Broadway set designer Jim Hamilton, the Flossmoor store was among the first in the area to use stage lighting and recessed bulbs to focus on the jewelry. It was also a look into the future with its use of recessed showcases that roll into the walls when not needed. Yaseen retained the showcase style but put his own stamp on the new design.

For the new store, he worked with Kern Konstruction, Tinley Park, IL, and specified a series of non-traditional styles and fabrics with accents that best echo the merchandise and reflect the clientele.

Waterwall

Reconstruction aimed to brighten the deep space with a lot of glass and light. The entire store is visible through its full-glass door and front walls. Those who look in from the outside walk on new granite tiles that extend from the exterior side wall to the sidewalk and continue into the store. This acts as a type of architectural invitation to follow the granite inside.

Once inside, the visitor sees and hears the soothing sound of falling water from an 8-ft. high glass waterwall. The floor tile, meanwhile, gives way to a warm, linen-colored carpet that continues onto the left wall. Yaseen designed an Art Nouveau carved pattern in the carpet to surround Art Deco wall sconces. The wall carpet carving was completed by Custom Carpet Craft, Elk Grove IL. Mirrors make the 20-ft.-wide space appear larger.

The opposite wall features ostrich-pattern Leatherette – the same design used on the solid doors and cabinets. Wall showcases are recessed into the wall (all from Bufkor). Hidden, slide-out drawers are built between these vertical cases.

Yaseen brought showcases from the former store but reconfigured them to a higher 43-in. European height, retrofitted them with leather rather than felt and added more glass. He also brought a decorative brass-covered bank vault door from his former store and placed it on a new vault. Overhead are the newest in ceramic metal halide track lights.

While the store design is critical, he also points to a rolling case into which he places specially chosen merchandise to display in the front window each day. This 42-in. shadow box showcase acts as mini-window display behind the full display – his store. Since opening in late March, sales have exceeded Yaseen’s predictions.

  • Harry W. Yaseen Jewelers, Naperville, IL; (630) 357-0660, www.yaseens.com.
  • Kern Konstruction Inc., Tinley Park, IL; (708) 532-2020, www.kernkonstructioninc.com.

– by Michael Thompson

The waterwall creates a calm ambience. To the right is a rolling display that becomes a “window” attraction in a store entirely fronted by glass.
Yaseen designed Art Nouveau wall carpet carvings to complement the floor carpet.
Before the renovation (above) and after.
The all-glass front floods the new store with light.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications