Blu Dot’s new showroom in Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District — designed by Portland-based studio Waechter Architecture — was designed to highlight the character and quality of the furniture company’s offerings. Built in a historic warehouse, the 7,300-square-foot project was designed to preserve the spirit of the original industrial building while introducing a showroom “intervention.”
Envisioned as a “crafted object inserted into the building,” the intervention sits within the space but set apart from the existing structural frame. With a whitewashed wood finish that carries from floor to wall, the character of this new form is distinct from, yet in dialogue with, the textures and construction of both the old warehouse and new furniture throughout.
The existing space was a mixture of historic features and an eclectic set of additions. While the building had the clear organization of a pre-war warehouse structure, a series of previous renovations had divided the interior space and disrupted its logic. Rather than compete with the old, Blu Dot’s standalone showroom instead works in concert with the building structure, strategically creating elements that bring the original framework to light. To reveal the old structure, an existing mezzanine was minimized to allow daylight in. A wing of individual offices was removed and infilled bays against the outer walls were opened up for additional visibility.
On the building exterior, a new canopy brings storefront, loading areas and elevator access bays into a singular form and organization. The canopy takes on its own identity, curving downward against the brick façade to frame the new entry to the interior. New wood storefronts sit at the base of the canopy and mark the scope of the intervention. The result is a singular gesture that highlights both the new and the old.
Taken together, these interior and exterior interventions redefine the space and the building’s identity as a complete whole. The result is a showroom where the architecture is evident in concept, form and detail, yet acts as a textured backdrop for the primary furniture and objects on display.