Universal Gear, Washington, D.C.

A trendy menswear retailer adds its vibe to the revival of a D.C. neighborhood.
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Posted July 15, 2008
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Logan Circle, a historic section of Washington, D.C., is undergoing a renaissance, with restored Victorian brownstones and new retailers.

One of those is Universal Gear, a trendy menswear retailer with a growing chain of stores in D.C., Chicago, New York and Atlanta. For its Logan Circle store, it sought a stylish and edgy look. The centerpiece of the store is a catwalk, lined with mannequins, to give shoppers the feeling they’re entering a fashion show in an exclusive locale.

But the concept, designed by STUDIOS Architecture (New York), is also a practical and flexible one. Table displays along either side of the catwalk are movable, allowing the retailer to change the look and reinvent the brand as needed.

Raw materials, such as polished concrete and unfinished wood, balance more-finished materials like glass, steel and stone. An architectural focal point of the space is a ceiling built from various dimensions of unfinished lumber hanging from the vaulted concrete slab of the existing building above.

Client: Universal Gear, Washington, D.C. – David Franco, owner

Design: STUDIOS Architecture, New York – Greg Keffer, principal; Brian Chun, project architect; Jennifer di Leonardi, designer

General Contractor: Sigal Construction, Washington, D.C.

Fixtures: Marlite, Dover, Ohio; Hill Enterprises Inc., Washington, D.C.

Flooring: Elegant Floors, Washington, D.C.

Lighting: Cooper Lighting, Peachtree City, Ga.; Juno Lighting, Des Plaines, Ill.; Lightolier, Fall River, Mass.

Wallcoverings and Materials: ASI Specialty Products, New York; COR Products, West Orange, N.J.

Photography: Nikolas Koenig, Chris Boal Artists Inc., New York