Over one weekend in early August, a group called The League of Awesome Possibilities were able to transform a humble corner in Ravenswood, IL into a thriving point of connection. The League, an organization started by neighbors looking to make their community a better place, hosted the Possibility Potluck, a dinner in a vacant storefront, where the neighborhood gathered and discussed ideas for community improvement.
With connection being a theme, Hexagon was a perfect addition to the potluck. Neighbors gathered and children colored on our six-sided carpet tiles.
After launching a pilot with Neighborland, The League of Awesome Possibilities is now in talks with both The Storefront and Walk Your City, two more national organizations that activate urban spaces and corridors. What started as a small way to connect and inspire neighbors through a designed experience has truly grown.
As the temperatures in New York rise, Minus 5 Ice Bar has arrived on the scene to offer an extreme version of relief. The chain’s first New York outpost provides a 23 degrees Fahrenheit (or minus 5 Celsius) atmosphere of sculpted ice chandeliers, walls, and even cups, on the ground floor of the Hilton Midtown hotel.
For the new outpost, ice sculptor Peter Slavin drew inspiration from New York landmarks such as Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. He plans on changing the design and adding new features every three months, saying, “New Yorkers are very finicky—you have to keep everything new and fresh.”
It took 180,000 pounds of ice and two weeks of carving to complete the structure. Now that it is complete, melting New Yorkers and tourists can cool off in the space with some cold vodka cocktails. Noel Bowman, director of operations for Minus 5, boasts, “It’s truly the coolest bar in New York.”
The Retail Design Institute’s 42nd International Store Design Awards honored the Mistral Wine Store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the Store of the Year 2012 award. The store, designed by Studio Arthur Casas, looks more like a modern architectural showcase than retail wine establishment.
Because most of the Mistral Wine Store’s sales are completed online, the store wanted to showcase the wine in a recreational, beautiful way that justified the retail location’s physical presence to the client. Additionally, they wanted a space to attract new customers and wine connoisseurs alike.
The wine is creatively displayed throughout the 1,076-square-foot space so that store guests can easily explore each label. Wine bottles are suspended in the fluid, organic shape of the store, giving the store a unique and elegantly discrete atmosphere. They become works of art, inviting guests to browse the space and take in the retail environment as if it’s a modern art museum.
Images: DDI, Arch Daily
On Aug. 1, Goodwill launched its first ever pop-up shop in Washington D.C. In just 3 days, the temporary store outperformed D.C.’s 13 other traditional retail stores by 20 percent more than the combined average. So how did this successful idea come to be?
The decision to open a pop-up store was inspired by the previous success of Goodwill’s trunk shows. Goodwill worked with Gensler to create the idea for the pop-up and thus, “Edited by Goodwill” was born.
“We were really inspired by Goodwill’s mission to help people ‘edit’ themselves by offering education and employment training,” said Bonnie Sen, associate at Gensler. “Using that concept as a starting point for our design, we wanted to help them create, or ‘edit,’ a space to elevate the retail experience and connect with discerning customers. Based on the popularity of stores like Anthropologie and the rise of do-it-yourself culture, we wanted people to approach the store with a sense of discovery.”
The ‘edit’ concept was integrated into the design with bold colors used to support the Goodwill brand along with an array of “dreamy” tones, as Sen describes. Art features like sculpted standard dry-cleaner hangers bridged space between each display. The store’s success brought it back again in December.
Images: Worn magazine, Washingtonian
Nike debuted the future of the company’s retail stores with the Spring 2012 opening of the new Nike+ Fuelstation in East London’s Boxpark, one of the city’s top sporting areas. The store features futuristic architecture and sustainable design, including floors made from recycled shoes known as Nike regrind.
This concept store pairs digital interactivity with state-of-the art customer shopping experience. The store has floor-to-ceiling LED walls that change colors when customers walk by. As an alternative to mannequins, motion-sensitive mirrors show film footage of local runners wearing products from the store. Touch screens located throughout the Nike+ Fuelstation provide product information and news from local running clubs.
A highlight of the space is a software program allowing visitors to create life-size digital images of themselves on screens that can be uploaded and shared through social media. And if you’re going to Nike+ Fuelstation soon, don’t miss the in-store nikeID terminal where customers can custom design their own shoes and active ware.