Show and Sell
Orlando Diaz-Azcuy unveils an elegant new look for Donghia showrooms, inaugurated in their San Francisco location.
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 5/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
"A showroom is the expression of a company's attitude—its image presented to the public," declares Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. For Donghia's new, multi-line San Francisco showroom in the Galleria design center, "this image is subtle, comfortable, and unique in its sense of color." In other words, a pitch-perfect expression of the brand.
The 5,270-sq.-ft., ground-floor space is across the street from Donghia's former address. "Although Donghia had a tremendous brand name, the old showroom did not live up to it," says Diaz-Azcuy, engaged to design a fresh look for the new site. The program scope also included two additional locations—Houston and Dallas—prompting a comprehensive reassessment of the company's retail strategy. "I suggested Donghia find common denominators to create similarity to the showroom experience from city to city," he explains. "Consistency in presentation is key to upholding a certain distinction and look when showrooms are located nationwide." The San Francisco outpost, which opened in March, inaugurates the new, unified image.
In line with Diaz-Azcuy's belief that the architectural envelope should play a supporting role to the merchandise, he envisioned a clean aesthetic with just enough articulation to accentuate the products. The layout capitalizes on the loft-like space while carving out intimate display settings. A grand hallway opens onto eight near-identical rooms, four on each side, blessed with 15-ft.-high, exposed-beam ceilings and enormous arched windows. "They're very modular and neutral, like galleries in a museum," he comments. Inspired by Donghia's rich palette of hues, coloration became an important means to unify the aesthetic from city to city while adding local flavor. Walls are taupe, with an accent color designated for each location: in San Francisco, a pale, apple-green ceiling brightens the central corridor. Concrete floors are treated with a cement finish, reminiscent of limestone but less expensive to install and maintain. Although the ever-modest Diaz-Azcuy claims that the elegant design emerged "out of experience and pragmatism," the results are as much a product of his sophisticated artistic sensibility.
Diaz-Azcuy collaborated with principal Greg Stewart and Donghia's in-house designer, Masaru Suzuki.