Chihuly Garden & Glass Retail Space

Yep, THAT Chihuly.
It’s not every day you get to work with a world renowned artist, the likes of Dale Chihuly. When we learned our friends at the Space Needle were getting a new neighbor we jumped at the chance to design the retail segment of the new Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.


The artwork housed at the museum is simply jaw-dropping. It was important that the retail space be just as unique so we filled the space from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with completely custom displays. Inspired by visits to Dale’s own hotshop and boathouse our material pallet consisted heavily of raw steel, stamped tin and large wood slabs.


A particularly enjoyable perk of this job was the chance to tour the warehouses that store Dale’s collections which range from vintage radios to PEZ dispensers. Dale is truly the proverbial man who has everything and he has a remarkable affinity for midcentury americana. The centerpiece of the retail space became the DVD tower which plays all of the merchandised DVDs on a selection of vintage, mid-century TVs from Dale’s private collection.


One major challenge of this retail job was a total lack of storage space. We had to find ways of providing ample storage withoutresorting to typical cabinets. Each floor display is outfitted with galvanized steel bins at the base which are in keeping with the raw material palette and maintain a clean, orderly appearance. The towering bookcase wall is a nod to Dale’s love of books and at the same time solves the practical need for room to store the back stock. The giant tin building blocks in the kids’ section sport hidden internal storage and the specialized t-shirt merchandising system includes an extra high capacity bank of t-shirt cubbies.


It was a pleasure working with Dale and his team as well as the Space Needle crew. Come opening day this retail space was buzzing with excitement and it was an honor to have been involved in the formation of Chihuly Garden and Glass.


The retail design was so well received that we were asked to help duplicate it for the Morean Arts Center Chihuly Collection retail space in St. Petersberg, Florida.


Credits:

Retail Design, Space Planning, Fixture Design & Merchandising: Dept of Energy
Architectural Design Consultant: McVey Oakley Design Studio
Retail Fixture Fabrication: Stageplan
Caseworker: Ingrao Custom Woodworking
General Contractor: Schuchart
Brand and Project Management: Center Art and Chihuly Workshop
Photographer: Patrick Lennox Wright Photography