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Sauvage Swim, La Jolla, Calif.

Southern California’s sophisticated swimwear store makes shopping for barely-there bikinis a day at the beach.




It can be a nightmare for some, of course. But Sauvage Swimwear in La Jolla, Calif., wants to make all customers feel comfortable and sexy in its fashionable, minimalist environment.

Designers at Graham Downes Architecture (San Diego) chose a white background, simple zebrawood millwork and a flexible wall fixture system to best display the product, allowing the colors, fabrics and designs to stand out. “The minimalism is analogous to the near-nakedness associated with wearing a swimsuit,” says Graham Downes, principal-in-charge for the firm. “A busy background would appear cluttered.”

The neutral design also lends an elegant feel through soft reflective finishes and flattering, color-correct lighting.

For those reluctant shoppers, heavy velvet curtains hide dressing rooms where individual doors face each other instead of baring all to the sales floor.

And if a shopper’s a little more bold? Zebrawood catwalks spice up the sexiness and bring the runway to the beach.

Client: Sauvage Swimwear, La Jolla, Calif. — Simon Southwood, owner; Betsy Southwood, owner


Design/Architect: Graham Downes Architecture Inc., San Diego — Graham Downes, principal-in-charge; Caryn Bailey, project manager; Linda Nguyen, designer

General Contractor: Stone & Nelson Construction, El Cajon, Calif.

Fixtures: Maximum Visibility Inc., Topanga, Calif.

Flooring: Eurowest Decorative Surfaces, Anaheim, Calif.

Lighting: CS Illumination, Encinitas, Calif.

Mannequins/Forms: King Manichini, Carpi, Italy


Fabric: Fabricut, Tulsa, Okla.; Kravet San Diego, San Diego; Workplace Services, San Diego

Photography: BHAUSmedia, San Diego




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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