A Regal Ride


The luxury brand Coach is known the world over for superbly crafted leather goods — handbags, wallets, backpacks, shoes and other accessories designed with stylish flair and built-in quality and durability. The company logo, a horse-drawn coach, evokes the grandeur of a bygone age when royals and the well-heeled traveled in handmade, custom carriages that exuded affluence and awed those who watched as they passed.

A recent installation of an elevator at one of Coach’s New York City (NYC) flagship stores was an opportunity to create vertical transportation (VT) that harkened back to the elegance embodied in the finery of those regal conveyances of the past. Liberty Elevator, a respected NYC-area installer, was contracted to do the job. With a travel of just under 33 ft., 8 in., a hydraulic system was deemed the best choice. Known to be selective in its choices of suppliers, Liberty turned to Custom Cabs, Inc. to design a car and shaft befitting of the image Coach projects.

Black powder coat is prominent in both car and shaft, as is the tempered, low-iron Starphire glass. The shaft has corner tubes for the enclosure and structural tubes on each side for the rail supports. The components have painted steel bands with a perforated pattern around the shaft to break the expanse of glass.

The shaft was designed and drawn by Custom Cabs, which farmed out the fabrication and installation. The color of the shaft and the cab was closely coordinated, as they were powder coated at different locations but had to match exactly. The shaft has steel rail-support tubes and aluminum corner tubes, all in black powder coat, and quarter-round mahogany trim connected with antique slotted copper screws for the glass stops.

Visitors to the store can view the design details, which were imagined and implemented through every part of the elevator’s design. A stairway wraps around the shaft, creating good vantage points to see the elevator assembly. This was intended to showcase the shaft and car. In fact, all details inside the shaft are visible, depending on where the car is parked, so all the equipment inside is finished.

The cab has a simple yet elegant design, with fine mahogany wood paneling around the lower part of the car (both inside and out) and glass with mullions making up the upper section. The ceiling is wood paneling with light fixtures, and the company logo is embedded within the tiles that make up the car’s floor.

The cab’s placement within an enclosed shaft mandates an emergency exit through the ceiling and roof. Hairline joints surround the exit in the middle of a ceiling constructed of mahogany veneer surrounded by aluminum panels. Designer cab lights complement the overall look. The top of the car has a horizontal steel ring, skinned and finished in black powder coat, and the entire top of the car is shrouded with the same finish.

The base of the car is made of mahogany panels, and the bottom of the walls are mahogany veneer panels with horizontal and vertical mahogany mullions. The vertical ones are 2-in., square aluminum tubes powder coated black. The glass stops are made of flat aluminum plates and 1/2-in. aluminum angles, also powder coated black. The handrail is made of 1-1/2-in. round wood wrapped in leather mounted with two-piece horizontal steel brackets inside and attached to the cab horizontal mullion and handrail.

Both the car and hall doors are made of steel frames and tempered Starphire glass. They are connected with drive plates, attached at the door bottoms, that move them open and closed.

The doors use Custom Cabs’ exclusive Galaxy underplatform door operator. Hall door boxes eliminate the need for sill angles and other obstructions in the shaft. The top track is small and does not require corner angle supports. The drive mechanism is below the platform, with only top tracks to guide the doors. This arrangement eliminates the need for a tall top shroud to hide the operator within a glass shaft.

A freestanding pedestal that houses the car operating panel (COP), finished to match the rest of the cab, is inside the car. The COP includes switches, a position indicator, service cabinet and panels that let customers know which products are on each floor. This panel is removable so it can be revised whenever the store is rearranged.

The bottom of the car is shrouded in the same black powder coat, with the necessary cutouts for buffers, traveling cable, etc. All hall-fixture placements were carefully coordinated with the shaft manufacturer so the cutouts would be in the proper locations at each floor. Since they were precut, and the shaft was installed as the fixtures arrived, there was no room for error. Because of the careful planning, all fixtures fit perfectly. All wiring was routed through the tubes, making for a clean installation.


  • Type of elevator: Commercial
  • Type of lift system: Twin-jack roped hydraulic
  • Controller: Microprocessor
  • Capacity: 2500 lb.
  • Travel: 33 ft., 7-7/8 in.
  • Doors: Center-opening glass car and hall doors
  • Door operator: Galaxy under-platform
  • Cab: Glass with steel frame and mahogany trim
  • Shaft: Mesh metal and glass; steel and aluminum frame
Farid Waleh

Farid Waleh

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