The odds were stacking up. Miroglio Architecture + Design was creating a full-service, high-end jewelry store for Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry inside what originally was supposed to be a restaurant coat closet at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park, Calif. First, there was the issue of size (or lack thereof) for such services as jewelry consultations. Then, designers had only 31 days to complete the project, leaving no time for tear-out and new construction. Lastly, the property owner would allow only a small sign near the store entrance to announce the new retail tenant.
Principal Joel Miroglio says designers approached the planning of the 10-by-11-foot retail space like a puzzle. “Everything had to be multipurpose,” he says.
That solution was found in a custom fixturing system, designed by Miroglio Architecture + Design and built by Trinity Engineering (Rohnert Park, Calif.). Around the perimeter, eight floor-to-ceiling fixture units house glass showcases for displaying the diamond and natural stone pieces. Taking into consideration the lack of seating inside the space, designers set the glass cases at optimum height for viewing while standing and added pullout display trays to each vitrine. To answer the retailer’s storage needs, the locked glass doors swing open for access to the jewelry, while cabinets at the bottom of each unit house back-stock as well as internal security systems.
In the store center, a 30-inch display table functions as a consultation table, display case and cashwrap. Four stools are stored underneath and pulled out for guests and employees. Cabinets along the back wall hold a small safe, back-of-the-house supplies and a laptop computer serving as a cash register.
Another constraint of the project was that designers had to work with the existing ceiling, wiring and HVAC ducting. “The cost to tear out the ceiling and add new lighting was prohibitive and would have added significant time to the already tight schedule,” says Miroglio.
But lighting is key to any jewelry presentation. So designers built additional illumination into the perimeter display fixtures, saving both time and money. Color-corrected pure-white optic LEDs (from Jesco Lighting, City of Industry, Calif.) are housed inside the glass cases to best showcase the colored stones, while recessed MR-16 halogens in the ceiling add a warmer light source that’s more attractive for showing diamonds, says Miroglio.
He also wanted to maximize all four surfaces of the former closet, so the perimeter vitrines rise up and curve onto the ceiling. “The arches make you feel like you’re being enclosed in a jewelry box,” he says. To minimize the possible effect of making the tiny space even smaller, a mirror along the back wall gives the illusion of doubling the size of the store. The fixturing’s maple blond wood finish also keeps the setting warm and light.
Everything inside the store except the flooring was built offsite before being installed inside the space. That includes two of the perimeter fixtures that were extended through the wall to create window displays in the lobby foyer. The system helped overcome the signage restriction while also permitting views inside the store.
“The idea was to make the space’s tiny size a highlight rather than a drawback,” says Miroglio. “The entire store is virtually a display fixture itself.”