Blu Dot’s New San Francisco Retailer Is Mannequin Of Adaptive Reuse
Design dealer Blu Dot recently completed a large new showroom at the base of Potrero Hill in San Francisco. The new, neighborhood-friendly accommodation, created through the redesign and remodeling of two vacant buildings, provides a simplified, softly contemporary backdrop for the Minneapolis-based contemporary furniture maker and designer.
Following the 2013 award-winning design of a previous San Francisco retail location at 560 Valencia Street, Blu Dot Design Director Maurice Blanks and his visual merchandising team worked with the office of Charles F. Bloszies FAIA to create the new Blu Dot San Francisco design.
For its new location, Blu Dot selected a location at 99 Missouri that included the former home of Arch, a popular graphics supply company. The architecture and engineering team at Bloszies combined the footprint of this space with a former body shop next door, transforming the original concrete structures into a new shell for Blu Dot’s store planners and interior designers.
Bloszies and Blu Dot organized the removal of redundant bracing and interior panels to open up the interior and eliminated a partially completed false facade at the corner. The team enlarged the window openings to create an organized outdoor rhythm and let in more sunlight. Bloszies designed a concrete slab parapet extension to provide a unified horizontal cap and create a simplified modern profile.
“We also designed steel window frames that protrude from the facade like oversized Tiffany windows, designed to reflect the size of industrial window openings found in nearby buildings,” explains Bloszies.
The building also features a 1,200-square-foot patio and something every San Francisco dreams of—a parking lot. Inside, it was designed “light, light and airy”.
The interior design, conceived with the minimal sensibility of an art gallery, serves as a framework for showcasing Blu Dot’s product line. Floors are terraced to be flush with the exterior qualities at various levels and are finished with unfinished timber floors or polished concrete. The interior design is integrated with structural elements, resulting in a simple, clean interior design, with the walls painted white, serving as a backdrop for the pieces on display. Plinths installed on the inside of the hinged windows enable product presentations at eye level for passers-by on the street.
“Since we opened a store in San Francisco in 2013, the city has been a key market for us. When our lease expired at the Mission, it only made sense for us to go bigger and better in San Francisco,” said Maurice Blanks, co-founder of Blu Dot. “Working again with Chuck and his team on the new business has been seamless and the end result is great. We’re excited to see long-standing, loyal customers in the new spaces, and excited to meet new friends and neighbors, all with the aim of fulfilling our mission of inspiring more creative ways of life through good design.”
(Photos/Images: Mariko Reed / Courtesy of Blu Dot and the Office of Charles F. Bloszies FAIA)
“The goal of this transformation is to give Blu Dot an architectural expression that is consistent with its furniture design ethos, while ensuring it fits the long-established industrial character of this part of the Potrero Hill neighborhood,” adds Bloszies. “In this way, Blu Dot ingratiates itself with its neighbors while creating a memorable, distinctive home for the Blu Dot brand.”
In addition to its online store, Blu Dot has retail stores in the United States, Mexico, and Australia, with new locations planned to open by Spring 2023.