Project Spotlight: Rent the Runway

The project consisted of the development of a new concept prototype environment for Rent the Runway and the implementation of that concept into a new, New York City flagship location of approximately 6,000 sf. The program included reception and service areas (Service Bar), main merchandise area (Dream Closet) and fitting rooms for walk-ins and appointments (Styling Studio).

From the first moment you enter the store, the overall abundance of the closet is intentionally visible but as you explore more you’ll find giant jewelry cases and other smaller scale details and surprises. Unlike typical retail fixtures, these cases are fully accessible and customers are invited to open and search through drawers as if they were in their own closet. From the Dream Closet, customers can then move to the walk-in fitting rooms or
the appointment only Styling Studio – depending on their desired level of service.

RTR is exactly the kind of project we love – a client that is intentionally trying to create something entirely new and unique. As they are a disruptive, paradigm shifting online business, the store had to equally demonstrate that it is not a retail-asusual environment (Dream Closet). In addition, we wanted to foreground and fully integrate the service portion of the RTR model in a unique and customer focused way (Service Bar) as well as create a new signature environment for one-on-one styling appointments (Styling Studio). The key to achieving the project goals was to really commit to the idea and details of a giant, aspirational “Dream Closet” and intentionally move away from recognizable retail elements like free-standing fixtures and mannequins. Similarly, the Service Bar sought to deliver a high level of customer care in a more enjoyable social environment. At the end of the day, far from being a typical retail store, the
main space was designed more as the world’s greatest closet that happens to also include a really cool bar.

Through the layout, design and details the store is the physical embodiment of the band promise. Customers are welcomed into an aspirational fantasy closet where access and abundance are readily on display. Signage and wayfinding are intended to reinforce the not retail-as-usual design goals. Subtle and elegant, they are intended to provide clear direction without recalling any of the loud, commercialism of traditional retail graphics.

Project Spotlight: Harbor Picture Company

The project consisted of the development of studio and office spaces for HARBOR – an industry leading, full-service production and post-production studio.  The design goals were to create warm, inviting and highly functional spaces to support editing for film and television projects.   The 10,000 sf project included specially equipped rooms for episodic, feature and commercial editing, reception, lounge and administrative office, conference and support spaces.

The studio spaces are intended for use by Harbor’s in-house editors as well as for rental by outside companies.  In either case, the overall project had to deliver both completely independent editing rooms – with acoustical isolation and a high level of individual light and temperature control – as well as communal lounge and amenity spaces that offered the opportunity for social interaction and collaboration.  The main lounge space features an open “kitchen” with integrated coffee and beer service, a large, communal island, soft seating lounges and an overhead, glass garage door that can fully open the space to the exterior.  Secondary lounges and smaller, more intimate seating areas are sprinkled throughout the space to provide a variety of social and break opportunities.

Just as Harbor provides the unseen technical precision behind the movie and television magic, the design sought to seamlessly solve for the mission critical pragmatic requirements of the space while simultaneously maintaining a cool and inviting overall aesthetic.  Care was taken in the space planning to create a variety of room sizes and configurations to meet the needs of the various types of editing while careful detailing insured that specific power, data, acoustic, lighting and climate control requirements were met.  Finish, fixture and furniture selections were made to work together with and leverage the palette of existing materials – including raw concrete floors, columns and beams as well as exposed brick and terracotta walls. 

Much of Harbor’s brand ethos is around being a collaborative collection of artists.  The company’s focus is on the behind-the-scenes work that is essential to the finished on-screen product – recognizing and supporting the unsung people who perfect sound, color, editing and production as artists.  The design sought to reinforce this commitment to craft through the use of authentic materials and artistic flourishes.  The main lounge space features two, large, commissioned mural walls and vintage movie marquee letters.  Acoustic panels in the editing rooms were chosen for their sculptural qualities – functioning as both artwork and necessary sound control.

Project Spotlight: Squeeze

The project consisted of the development of a new concept prototype and first flagship location for Squeeze – a new massage concept from the founders of drybar.  As with drybar, the design goals were to create a paradigm shifting new space that would help fill a hole in the market between the limitations of the discount and very high-end existing options. The 4,000 sf project included reception, relaxation lounge, private treatment suites, shared open treatment areas and back of house support spaces.   

The experiential journey of Squeeze is imagined as a gradual transition from the hustle and bustle of the outside world to the privacy and serenity of the individualized treatment rooms.  After being greeted at reception, customers move to a protected, interior relaxation lounge where they can enjoy tea or water and sample aromatherapy options.  Once inside the treatment room, guests will find their own dedicated space to comfortably change, conveniently store their belongings, and easily customize their environment with touch screen control of light, temperature and music.  The guest station is stocked with everything needed to help support the experience within easy reach – including mints, cough drops, hair ties and phone charging – as well as a large personal mirror for checking in before emerging back into outside world.   

Squeeze is exactly the kind of project we love – partnering with a client who is intentionally trying to disrupt an industry and create something entirely new and ownable.  Like drybar, which sought to break the ubiquitous hair salon mold of a long line of chairs facing mirrors, the design of Squeeze has moved away from the impersonal collection of endless doors and hallways to a series of individualized treatment cubes.  Like jewelry boxes, the treatments suites have protective wood paneled rectilinear exterior walls that help insulate the softer and quieter finishes of the rounded interior spaces.  In the relaxation lounge, common rubber stress balls have been used to create a signature feature wall that resembles and winks at the iconic tufted fabric walls of drybar.

Reuniting the teams behind drybar, Squeeze presented a great opportunity to again develop a physical design concept in parallel with the evolution of the overall brand and graphic identities.  Through close collaboration, core elements of the identity which are featured in their print, web, and collateral materials were seamlessly integrated into the interior design in colors, materials, graphic patterns and signage.  One of the overall goals of the branding is to bring a playful and whimsical voice to the brand through the personification of the logo – a smiling squeeze ball named Pat.  Pat, as well as more abstracted spheres and curves, are strategically featured in 3-dimensional and graphics moments throughout the space.