The Cordovan of Fifth Avenue
When we think in New York, we think in Fifth Avenue and its dozens of luxurious and famous stores tined up in this 10km street, like it was a fashion show.
Breakfast at Tiffany´s, King Kong or the Godfather are just samples os films that chose "The 5th" as the setting for their productions.
The skyscrapers, the bustle, the heavy traffic dotted in yellow colour of the taxi cabs and the lights will be today witnesses to the history of Meryan.
In 1965, hardly a decade after Meryan began as work-shop, we received the commission of a leather folding screen from the United States. The request came from the renowned chain of stores Altman&Co.
We designed three panels decorated with plant patterns, mixed style shells and birds of Paradise. This design is still in our catalogue with little modifications in its structure.
The layout was on request by the most important luxury furniture department of U.S. in those days.
Altman&Co was founded by Benjamin Altman in 1895, and it was considered the main driving force in the country of a new style of trade: Massive buildings for store chains with different floors for different goods... cloths, silks, perfumes or furniture, focus on an old Europe. London and its "Harrods" or Paris and "Lafayettes Galeries" were the mirrors for those merchant families such as Altman´s.
The most important of all the Altman´s stores in U.S.A was the one between the Fifth Avenue and the 34th street in New York. That was the flagship. Altman knew beyond that residential street that was the 5th in those days, filled with luxury flats and small palaces in Neo-Renaissance style. That new Altman´s building began the change in the layout of that narrowed street to the current big avenue.
Moreover , this successful entrepreneur invested in charitable projects and arts. After his death in 1913, B. Altman left a legacy of 1000 pieces of art to Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Alman Foundation that still maintains its activity nowadays.
The Altman&Co store at the 5th Avenue was managed by different investors and they remained, to certain extend, the founder´s mission and vision.
In the winter of 1965, coinciding with the folding screen commission, New York suffered a major power black-out that lasted more 14 hours and created chaos within several states. The store, that still had electricity, kept its doors opened to the neighbours of New York and provided them with meals and a warm place to wait.
During Christmas 1990, Altman&Co forever closed the flagship of a way of life that changed the layout at the 5th Avenue more than one hundred years before.