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.

Get to Know Us!

Paul Gomez

How long have you been with HHA?

5 years (2yrs as an intern and 3yrs full time)

What is your favorite past time?

My favorite past time is playing sports like soccer/crossfit/biking/running. I also like to travel and try different foods from other cultures.

What is your favorite HHA project?

My favorite HHA project has been Drybar. I have been able to grow a lot in some areas as a designer specially in the retail area. I am getting to work in another projects so there might be a new favorite.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?

I want to climb the Everest, sky dive and visit as many architectural landmarks as I can in the world.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I first would be to help the poor in my country by generating work places. For example, a lot of people in Ecuador have construction knowledge and I always had the dream of building houses for poor people but having them working in the construction of their home. So is not only helping them by giving them money but giving them are reason to work for and a home.

Who is your favorite architect (or one of your favorite spaces by an architect)?

Alejandro Aravena. He is Chilean architect who has been designing housing projects in many countries, his idea is based on fast housing construction by building half of a house, these homes are given / sold to low income people. These houses have structures to develop the other half of the house at any moment the owners decide to expand their home.

What type of projects do you enjoy working on?

If it is work aside from the company, I like to build things, like furniture or painting. I truly enjoy creating small scale items that I can say I made them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an architect?

A soccer player or a product designer / graphic designer / I also love drawing and painting.

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.