A Peek Inside Shinola

I got a sneak peek inside the still-somewhat-raw Shinola showroom/store in the works at 177 Franklin. (For more on the brand’s back story and its goods, go here.) What is—or will be—behind the façade when the paper comes down….

••• The space is long and narrow—this is Tribeca, after all—with brick walls to the east and west. The standout feature (at least at this point) is the dramatic double-high ceiling in the back. They’re even going to add a faux atrium/skylight in the rear, like the (real) ones you see in so many spaces around here. A spiral staircase will lead to a metal catwalk on at least one of the east/west walls, along with shelves of inventory; a small showroom will probably also be upstairs (because once the space is a retail store, you can’t really have next season’s not-yet-available merch on the sales floor).

••• Right now, masking tape is everywhere, denoting where fixtures will be. The design sensibility is “modern American,” with Donald Judd and Jean Prouvé as specific influences. The Shinola team even took a trip to Marfa, Texas, to visit Judd’s home and the Chinati Foundation. (It was at this point I told the story of how I went all the way to Marfa but skipped the Chinati Foundation. I’m a heathen.)

••• As you enter the space, a coffee bar with pastries will be to the right. No word yet on which coffee company or café they’ll be partnering with, but seeing as how Shinola is all about craftsmanship and provenance, it ought to be notable.

••• The Shinola line launches online in early/mid November. 177 Franklin will be a showroom to start, probably opening in February. Then it’ll morph into a shop. The line starts with watches, then moves on to include bikes and leather goods (bags, change purses).

••• Change purses? Yes, changes purses: While Shinola’s aesthetic is a bit mensy (my word), the goal is to appeal equally to men and women. Shinola apparel will be available starting with the fall/winter 2013 season.

••• The goal is for the showroom/store to be a “studio”—it’ll be a store where you can purchase things, but also an office where meetings will be held, as well as screenings, readings, talks, and so on. “My dream is to have a pickling demo,” said my guide. (Me: “A bit Brooklyn, isn’t it?” She said yes, and that they were thinking maybe a store on Smith Street would one day make sense, or at least a pop-up.)

••• Eventually there will also be a store in Tribeca’s sister city, Detroit. You’ll even be able to customize a bike there.

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