Collaboration is the hallmark of Blu Dot’s design process, so the facade was joint effort drawing from the talent and expertise of our firm, Blu Dot’s own designers, and the metal fabricator. The perforated metal screen was an idea from the outset since the original building had a large “forehead” above a standard storefront below. The original structure had an entrance in the middle and a poorly conceived fire exit at one side.
The metal screen was fabricated from stainless steel sheet by a Bay Area fabricator, also an architect. Details were carefully worked out in consultation with the fabricator in order to ensure a crisp, well-tailored result. We provided the computer files used to fabricate the panels. Although a building is a bit larger than a typical furniture piece, the assembly of the facade was approached in a similar manner. The new butt-glazed storefront was intended to be a transparent plane allowing views into the interior and reflections back onto the street.
The interior design was approached much like a gallery design – the space is an armature in which to display art, in this case, Blu Dot’s product line. Two signature components are included in the interior: a large metal Blu Dot logo sign and Douglas Fir clad partitions (perhaps a nod to Minnesota?), which can be moved around to create interior spaces for specific furniture arrangements. The metal logo sign is also used on the outside of the building, although much smaller – a pleasant relief compared to typical retail signs.
The store fits both the scale and pulse of Valencia Street without drawing too much attention to its architecture. The idea is to create an honest building with a contemporary timestamp simply inserted into one of San Francisco’s oldest, but eclectic neighborhoods.