Category Archives: Retail

Neoclassical Chicago Building Gets Remodeled into an Upscale Pharmacy

The once abandoned 1920s-era Noel State Bank building is now a Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, complete with high-end amenities including a sushi bar and smoothie counter.

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Because the building is identified as a city of Chicago landmark, all interior and exterior updates were designed to reflect and maintain the original neoclassical architecture. The Camburas & Theodore team brought light to the building by installing LED light panels on the ceiling, made to match daylight and resemble a turn-of-the-century European train station.

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Most of the building’s basement vaults were removed, but the team restored and preserved one special vault. Featured in the 1987 movie The Untouchables, the vault is now know as the “Vitamin Vault,” displaying on side, over-the-counter vitamins, and on the other, early 1900s-era Walgreens products showcased in a wall of restored safety deposit boxes.

Images: ©Copyright 2012 Padgett and Company

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Historic Church gets Repurposed as a Modern-Day Bookstore

Designers had to mix old and new when it came to creating this Waanders In de Broeren bookstore in The Netherlands. BK Architecten‘s transformed a 15th century church into a modern bookstore, which includes a third floor and coffee shop. The design had to uphold the historical value and size of the church while making it a functioning retail store. To best preserve the original look of the space, only white balconies and natural materials were added to the church building.





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Grocery Stores Going Beyond the Question of “Paper or Plastic?”

Two small grocery stores are going way beyond the question of “paper or plastic?”


Austin, Texas-based in.gredients promotes sustainability on whole different level than just encouraging customers to recycle. This micro-grocer, which opened in August 2012, offers pure, GMO-free , locally harvested food in a package-free environment. Simply bring your own container and choose as much – or as little – products that you want. Weigh your food, pay by the ounce and take it home.


Likewise, London’s Unpackaged is bringing this unique style of shopping to the U.K. “We believe that a lot of packaging is unnecessary so we’ve removed it; just bring your own containers and reuse them each time you shop.”

Both retailers believe the choice to purchase unpackaged goods will lead their customers to make more sustainable choices in other parts of their lives. Maybe this is a growing retail movement we can all get behind.

While we may not be getting rid of packaging for our materials, Shaw Industries is reducing the impact it has on the environment. The recently redesigned carpet tile packaging is 30% lighter and far less difficult for customers to dispose and recycle. The reduced packaging weight means reduced cardboard usage, over 550 thousand pounds or 3,550 trees each year. The result is a packaged product that is safer, lighter and less laborious.

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IKEA to Sell Solar Panels

Brooklyn Solar PanelsFurniture retail giant Ikea has announced plans to sell flat-packed solar panels.

Ikea’s thin film cells for residential roofs will cost £5700 ($7,745 US) for 18 panels and – unlike the self-assembly bookcases and sofas the brand is known for – will include installation. The panels are made in Germany by Chinese producer Hanergy Solar.

The scheme will be rolled out to all UK stores in the next ten months, where customers will be able to see the products and have a consultation.

Ikea has already installed more than 250,000 solar panels on the roofs of its own buildings worldwide. In July, the company used its expertise in flat-pack design to redesign refugee shelters and later the same month it relaunched the first flat-pack table, originally produced 60 years ago.



Images: Apartment Therapy, Finance & Commerce, NPR

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Nike Concept Store Made 100% from Trash

Besides the products on sale, everything inside Nike’s newest concept store in Shanghai is made from trash. Taiwanese architectural firm Miniwiz Sustainable Development Ltd. used 5,500 soda cans, 2,000 PET water bottles and 50,000 old CDs and DVDs to design the interior and fixtures. Construction and assembly were completed in July this year.


The amazing origami ceiling is made from recycled DVDs, while cables and the building’s joints were made out of 5,278 recycled cans. Around 2,000 yards of tension cables were made using 2,000 recycled water bottles gathered all across China. According to the designers, no glue was used to build the interior and all materials are 100% recyclable.


The architectural studio in charge of the design, Miniwiz, is already famous in Taiwan for their large scale eco-friendly projects and recycling initiatives. The team’s EcoArk pavilion, dubbed “the world’s greenest pavilion” was built with 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles. The building is said to weigh 50% less than a conventional building and can withstand earthquakes and hurricanes.

Images: Inhabitat

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