More than a century ago, the 120,000-square-foot Kickernick Building in Minneapolis housed two female-owned businesses, one that manufactured leather boots and coats and another that made women’s apparel and lingerie. Studio BV founder and CEO Betsy Vohs wanted to honor this history while readying the building for the 21st century by creating commercial office space with an open lobby for meetings and offices upstairs.
“We used that notion of making, craft, and textiles to create textures in the spaces,” she says. This extended into the use of leather in the screen walls and the custom felt wall design at the back of the space, both of which were created from the original patterns for the coats produced in the building.
While getting daylight deep into the enormous space was a challenge, extensive artwork—all created by women weavers, sculptors, and painters—brightens the view. “Office buildings anchor neighborhoods,” Vohs says, noting that this project goes further. “It reimagines what common spaces can be if we think about them like collectors of people, objects, and ideas.”