Elie Tahari boutique

When designer Elie Tahari decided to build a flagship store, he chose to go away from the modern glitz of New York City and out to East Hampton, N.Y., where he converted a historic post office into the high-end boutique.

The 5,000-square-foot store features an interior glass-walled and glass-roofed enclosure that rises up two stories, flooding the boutique with natural light.

“The architects wanted to create what looks like a jewelry box in the center of the store. … It looks like the box just breaks in the second floor through the roof of the building,” says Joe Lucin, chief of estimating and sales for College Point, N.Y.-based Empire Architectural Metal Corp. that fabricated the metal systems and completed the installation.

Architects from Highland Associates of New York and Lissoni Associati of Milan presented Empire Architectural Metal with renderings of the freestanding glass box with glass shelving and asked them to make it a reality. “We had to find how the glass was going to be supported from top to bottom,” Lucin says.

In the end, they used a glass baluster held in place with custom stainless steel standoffs on waterjet cut steel plates that sit on a single steel stringer. All the glass used is 3⁄4-inch tempered, low-iron Starphire from PPG Industries Inc. of Pittsburgh. The 400-square-foot skylight features laminated and tempered lites.

“Everything had to line up perfectly. There was not even a 1⁄16-inch of play,” Lucin says.

Richter & Ratner of New York was the general contractor on the job.

The boutique opened in August 2007 after a tight construction timeline.