This prominent New York city retailer, known for their incredible breadth of wine and friendly experts, came to us to design their second U.S. shop—a ‘super boutique’ in San Francisco’s storied Palace Hotel. The Palace location inherently elevated the design language with a sense of elegance and tradition, relating well to their vintner and collector relationships. But equally important was the need to set a social, welcoming tone, to maintain their appeal for all levels of enthusiasts.
Our work was cut out for us, as the square footage and location were perfect for the client but existing conditions posed a couple big challenges. The first task was to remedy layers of dated renovations, for which we decided it was necessary to mount a major cleanup and strip the space down to its shell.
The other challenge was addressing the labyrinthine structure of the space, compartmentalized in a series of little rooms and long corridors. We chose to use this historic framework to Flatiron’s advantage, creating a place in which to wander, get lost and delight in discovery, as you would in a library. For each of the retailer’s functions we created a distinct room, maintaining separation while opening up varying sightlines. Intentional, meandering pathways allow customers to explore arbitrarily, balanced by clear ‘boulevards’ for a more direct course. The two types of circulation are distinguished by subtle changes in floor finish, matte and bright pendant lighting, and articulated thresholds.
Literally miles of custom shelving in white oak and raw steel allow for displaying Flatiron’s vast offerings (over 4,000 bottles of wine and spirits), and distinguish the tasting rooms and lovely and intimate spirits room. The street-level, light-filled tasting room connects to city life through large windows. The private, basement-level tasting cave is an introspective space for the visitor to discover. The décor is a mix of classic, contemporary and industrial, with feature lighting and vintage furnishings and art.