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Urban 29, Minneapolis

On Our Radar: A combination of concrete floors, white walls and exposed ceilings truly allows products to shine and offering minimalistic design

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THE STORY OF Urban 29, a premium menswear retail store in Minneapolis, centers around themes of rebuilding and resilience. The project was handled by the pro bono division of Studio BV (Minneapolis) called Design Forward, and just recently opened a new store in a new location, something that was two years in the making. Urban 29 was originally located on Lake Street, and during the social unrest that occurred following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, many places around the city were left destroyed – Urban 29 included.

In addition to having to rebuild from the ground up due to a fire that left the store destroyed, the pandemic also created issues that the design team and Joyce Sanders, owner of Urban 29, had to work around.

“Timing was tough for this new location and building,” says Betsy Vohs, Studio BV Founder and CEO. “I would say the scheduling and supply chain issues during Covid was probably our biggest challenge.”

📷 Corey Gaffer, North St. Paul, Minn.

📷 Corey Gaffer, North St. Paul, Minn.

Despite the hurdles, one major advancement that the pandemic helped facilitate was Urban 29’s online presence. Having a website allowed Sanders to continue to reach her customers and remain in business while the new store was being built.

Given Urban 29’s colorful selection of clothing, the design strategy for the project was to essentially create a space that felt simple. This was achieved through custom fixtures that display apparel in a cohesive way throughout the store.

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“We used apple and birch plywood, and pegboard to build adjustable shelving and storage units that would be used for shoes, hanging clothes or even stacking and folding,” says Vohs.

Urban 29, Minneapolis Urban 29’s colorful apparel pops against its minimalist interior. 📷 Corey Gaffer, North St. Paul, Minn.

The entire space is quite minimalistic: A combination of concrete floors, white walls and exposed ceilings truly allows products to shine. The wood elements add a sense of warmth, something Sanders wanted to provide, creating a comfortable atmosphere for customers to browse or to simply hang out. Another goal was to have the store be easily navigable and accessible, which is why making sure the clothes were the star of the show was crucial, added Vohs.

“I look at this space and I’m super proud of it,” says Vohs. “It reflects her brand and it is such great quality. She’s [Sanders] been through so much, so she deserves something that feels both refined and accessible.”

PHOTO GALLERY (5 IMAGES)
📷 Corey Gaffer, North St. Paul, Minn.

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Makaela Mertic is VMSD's spring 2023 Editorial Intern. She is currently a student studying journalism at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to holding the position of Treasurer for the University of Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists (UCABJ), Makaela is also an active member of Cru Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club.

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