A showroom with a mission. That’s the core idea behind The Shop, an experimental retail space by Porter in downtown Seattle designed by local firm Graham Baba Architects. It’s something not easily defined, combining retail, hospitality, and coworking in a 4000-square-foot space created by and for architects and interior designers. Yes it’s a showroom, with a rotating selection of pieces from blue chip brands like Moooi, Carl Hansen, and Steelcase joining products from emerging artists, with a specific focus on BIPOC artisans and creators from historically excluded communities. But it’s also a café, a cocktail bar, and a place for events, meetings and remote work.
“We’ve imagined the space that we as creatives are craving right now,” says Kyle Haakenson, a founding partner of Porter and The Shop. “You can stay for an hour, or book a meeting space for a day.” By infusing hospitality, food, and beverage into the retail space with a focus on experience, the team hopes to refine and redefine the specification of commercial furniture. And it’s taking a bet on a future where designers will likely work from flexible and multi-functional workspaces beyond the confines of the office. An installation of acrylic gold mirror cut into tall letters behind the bar offers a nod to Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” and sends a wholesome message: “Wel-come as you are.”