Union Station in Washington, DC is a magnificent, Beaux-Arts style building and a monument itself in a city of monuments. When the main historic building was fully restored and commercially developed, there was an opportunity for Appalachian Spring to open their second store. This became one of several retail spaces I designed for them.
The design and construction was extremely challenging not only in terms of available space and volume but also in time; the build-out schedule was very tight and had to coincide with the grand opening of the entire Union Station building. There would be no time extensions. So in about two months we went from finding the space to opening a new store and along the way learned a lot about communication between Architect, Owner and Builder and how well a project can work when this skill is well honed.
In a relatively tight envelope, the goal was to design a large amount of display that was impressive, well lighted and accessible but also easy to monitor by the store staff. The number of people moving through the station is enormous, so the opportunities for buyers as well as shoplifters is high. Balancing security with elegant display, we learned, is both an art and a science.
We articulated the interior surfaces and display elements with architectural details reflecting the history of the Union Station building and also introduced many contemporary elements. The result is, I think, a balance between the two and an environment in which people feel welcome and comfortable. This seems to be supported by the fact that this is the company's highest grossing store.