When developers decided to add a 10,000-square-foot standalone building at the Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, Calif.), high-end fashion retailer Wilkes Bashford signed up before the cement had been poured. And to compete with neighbors like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, the retailer called on Fee Munson Ebert (San Francisco) to make the full-line, one-level store a discovery center.
The concept is an evolution of the look designers established at the retailer's full-line flagship store in Union Square, which features tables topped with 3/4-inch back-painted slabs of glass and a flexible puck fixturing system in figured maple. However, designers experimented with lighting to create something truly unique. The multi-layered lighting system features 12-foot, shoji screen-like, illuminated etched-glass columns that require only one bulb at the base and use a 3M material that provides even illumination. Elsewhere, MR16s add punch, natural light floods in and fluorescent cove lighting glows at the perimeters.
Owner Wilkes Bashford, who founded the 35-year-old chain (there are also three Wilkes Sports stores in Northern California), says he's pleased with the store's success and location. "I have this theory that when you're in this type of business, you need to be able to see it every day to know who your customers are," notes Bashford. "I've never wanted to go anywhere that I couldn't drive to."
Client Team: Wilkes Bashford, San Francisco -- Wilkes Bashford, owner; Ross Hunter, merchandise manager; Russell Glower, creative director
Design Team: Fee Munson Ebert, San Francisco -- David Ebert, principal in charge; Melissa Thompson, project manager
Lighting Consultant: Auerbach Glasow, San Francisco
General Contractor: Hathaway Pinwiddie, San Francisco
Suppliers: De Vincenzi, Burlingame, Calif. (metalwork); SpinneyBeck, Getzville, N.Y. (leather); Design Workshops, Oakland, Calif. (fixturing); Walker Zanger, Sylmar, Calif. (stone flooring); Constantine, Dalton, Ga. (carpet); WoodTech, Oakland, Calif., Knoll Intl., New York (furniture); Modular Intl. Inc., Pittsburgh, Starfire Lighting, Jersey City, N.J., Elliptipar, W. Haven, Conn. (lighting); Chandler Signs, Oceanside, Calif. (exterior signage); Patina Finishes & Copper Coats, San Diego, Maya Romanoff, Chicago (wallcoverings); Chemetal, Easthampton, Mass. (metal base and fixture trim)
Photography: John Sutton, Point Richmond, Calif.