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2023 Retail Renovation of the Year: Larissa Loden Retail Store and Makers Studio

Conversion: Specialty Store, Sales Area Under 10,000 SQ. FT. | Submitted by: Studio BV, Minneapolis | 📷 Corey Gaffer Photography, North St. Paul, Minn.

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PROJECT SCOPE: Convert a building housing an ice cream production facility and prosthetics/orthotics office into a world-class jewelry boutique and makers studio. The 60-year-old building was very industrial; it had no fenestration and simple terrazzo floors. The design team needed to create two spaces out of this building: One was a high-impact retail space with an entirely new storefront, windows and façade. The second was a lively makers’ studio for the jewelry artists.

UNIQUE CHALLENGES: Studio BV founder Betsy Vohs said the project’s biggest challenge was to create a new façade for the building. The existing one had old stucco and very limited doors and windows. The design team wanted to strip back the stucco to expose and restore the brick façade of the original building. But using the brick turned out to be problematic; it had decades of disrepair and couldn’t be salvaged. The designers pivoted and decided to put a new bright white stucco façade on the building and create a blank canvas for a local artist to use as a brand expression towards the street.

2023 Retail Renovation of the Year: Larissa Loden Retail Store and Makers Studio

UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS: The soft sand and rose colors integrated into the space are feminine, soft and quiet. The lighting layers and soft geometry of the store’s fixtures are all about embracing the curves and flow of how you move through the space.

The entry features a custom door and mosaic that tattoos the floor with the Larissa Loden logo and embraces the unique geometry of the store right at the front door. Large windows create a transparency between the urban fabric of the neighborhood and the store’s interior. Daylight flows throughout, highlighting the large open space and original refurbished terrazzo floors.

2023 Retail Renovation of the Year: Larissa Loden Retail Store and Makers Studio

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The workspace and the maker areas are all designed to support the design and organizational teams at Larissa Loden. New offices, furniture, skylights and workstations were created to support this work. The space is full of modular elements that can be reconfigured to meet changing needs.

The Larissa Loden team’s café/coffee bar is placed at the boundary between the retail and office spaces. That was intentional, as it allows the retail and creative staff to intermix and connect more. The retail space also serves as a place for community gatherings.

Custom murals inside and outside of the space reflect local women BIPOC artists and create a playfulness that captures the spirit of the space, which is about joy, femininity and what’s possible when passion and creativity come together.

PHOTO GALLERY (20 IMAGES)

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