Boutique Mentality: Anthropologie
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 1/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Anthropologie in Burlingame, California. Tinted resin bars custom-made by US Sign & Mill Corporation and inserted in the concrete walls. ussignandmill.com. Photo by Eilzabeth Felicella.
Most national retailers cookie-cutter their stores. But Anthropologie, an offshoot of Urban Outfitters, shrewdly camouflages 118 units as one-off regional boutiques. Designing nine nationwide—one of which earned an Interior Design Best of Year Award "merit" citation—Robin Elmslie Osler of EOA/Elmslie Osler Architect has become adept at the masquerade. "Our choice of exterior materials is grounded in an awareness of local conditions," she explains.
Anthropologie in Burlingame, California. Concrete bricks fabricated by Concreteworks to form interior columns as well as exterior elements.concreteworks.com. Photos by Eilzabeth Felicella.
Consider the contrast between 10,000-square-foot Anthropologie locations in the South and the West. In verdant Huntsville, Alabama, she dressed the exterior in succulents and sedum, then accessorized them with swaths of whitewashed cypress boards installed "fence"-style. She mimicked the very different textures and colors of the Northern California landscape for a Burlingame store's 20-foot-wide facade, with its walls of concrete brick, accented by translucent resin bars, and ipé rods, some sheathed in copper.
Aluminum vertical-growing trays from Green Living Technologies, anchoring the green sections of the facade at Anthropologie in Huntsville, Alabama. agreenroof.com. Photo by Robert Reck.
The biggest challenge as the rollout continues? With effects so dramatic, it's hard to resist borrowing.