Urban Sleuth :
May 21, 2012
With an arresting Miss Havisham-meets-Frank Ghery decor, Restoration Hardware’s new design concept rewrites retail in Buckhead
Restoration Hardware’s new retail concept, a style manse called Design Gallery, will take up residence in the former ESPN Zone space in Buckhead later this year or next.
Atlanta stylistas will soon have a new decor play ground to romp in. Restoration Hardware, that popular purveyor of all things nickel-plated, is opening its new high-end Design Gallery concept in the former ESPN Zone location in Buckhead. Buckhead View reports that the upscale retailer will tear down the three-story ESPN Zone building at 3030 Peachtree and Pharr roads, across from the Buckhead Atlanta project, and replace it with a six-story, open-air atrium store with courtyards for the display of outdoor furniture, a grand staircase, "transparent" (glass?) elevators, and possibly a retail/artist market area with a café.
The 34,000-square-foot space at 3030 Peachtree Road would be the 5th location of the Design Gallery concept (other locales include L.A., Houston, San Francisco and Boston) and the décor den aims to bring "best on planet" products to the discerning shopper. Think: architectural salvage pieces blended with unique industrial furnishings like Restoration Hardware’s aviator-chic, aluminum, bent-wing desk and its novel birdcage-enclosed chandeliers. The new Design Gallery will be like wandering the magical estate of Miss Havisham if she had married avant-garde architect Frank Ghery—in other words, quirky, distinctive and enveloping décors blending found objects both antique and industrial with at least 80% of Restoration Hardware’s full line of handcrafted furnishings and accessories. Other features of the Buckhead store, based on existing Design Gallery stores, might include an international biblothéque, a Bellocq Tea Atelier, a Baby & Child Gallery, a rooftop garden and a floral boutique.
The California-based CEO Gary Friedman says, "We believe this is a great opportunity to transform the brand. We're not so much a retailer as a curator. We no longer have a catalog, but a publication. The website is an online showroom." The cash registers, he added, are tucked into a space dubbed "the reception room" --complete with comfortable seating.
Design Gallery stores in San Francisco and Boston have inhabited landmark buildings of note, whether a Palladian mansion in S.F. or the former New England Museum of Natural History in the Back Bay, circa 1863. All the Design Gallery locations to date have featured dramatic interior designs by leading architects and have eschewed the traditional mall locations for expressive stand-alone locations that offer an eclectic, atelier type of atmosphere. Restoration Hardware has hired California architecture firm Bracken Gillam Kroeger to work on the new store designs. And with Restoration Hardware poster boy and designer Mark Sage of LoveTrain Antiques here in Atlanta, our bets are on him to also put his inimitable stamp on the place!
For more info: www.restorationhardware.com