Discover the newest Manolo Blahnik´s design shops by Leith-Smith

The design and architect, Leith-Smith gives interview about his career and partnership with network of stores
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Nick Leith Smith Headshot

British architect and designer Leith Smith began to do networking while still in college. After graduating from the London Architecture Association, Smith met the niece of Manolo Blahnik, the renowned designer of women’s shoes. This networking has brought good results and, since 2004, they have formed a partnership that has been established for more than 10 years. Smith was responsible for the design shops of the Manolo Blahnik in Hong Kong with his partner, Kristina Blahnik Hulsebus, niece of Blahnik.
Over the years, the partnership between Smith and Hulsebus has ended, but the architecture firm has grown to a staff of 12 and has prospected new clients. The studio currently caters to projects ranging from homes to restaurants. And concept stores for big brands like Kurt Geiger, Harvey Nichols and Liberty. But Blahnik remains the oldest customer at Leith-Smith.


Smith says in an interview for Interior Design magazine that he fell in love with architecture as a child. The architect lived in many places during his childhood and adolescence, which brought him a broad vision of different architectures to inspire.
The architect also mentions that the secret of the long partnership with Blahnik is to know his style. More than 40 stores were created in 12 years of partnership and the creative process begins with a discussion about the location of the store. The design shops will always be the result of extensive research in the city or country where the store is located. The stores created by Smith have only one thing in common: they are locally inspired creations depending on the cultural factors of the chosen city.

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A suede boot from spring 2016 at Manolo Blahnik, Tokyo. Photography by Bluebell Group.

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Laser-cut Corian at the Moscow boutique. Photography by BSG Trading.

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Manolo Blahnik Hong Kong, 2004, Nick Leith-Smith’s first store for the brand. Photography courtesy of Data Nature Associates.

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Silk curtains at the Harrods shop in shop, London. Photography by Quintin Lake.

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A suede boot from spring 2016 at Manolo Blahnik, Tokyo. Photography by Bluebell Group.

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The Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shop. Photography by Bluebell Group.

The new store, which opened in Tokyo, was inspired by Japanese architecture. Already the Geneva store that will open in the coming months, will be inspired by the architect and design Josef Hoffmann. According to the architect it is exciting to be able to develop projects with Blahnik.

Source: Interior Design*.

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