DECLIC CLOTHING STORE AT BAYSIDE MARKETPLACE, DOWNTOWN MIAMI
The owners of this store were French nationals from Paris, really lovely people. They came to us, United Architects, a Miami architecture firm, when Bayside Marketplace was going to open in downtown Miami. According to their contract with the Rouse Company, they had to open this approximately 1,000-square-foot store within two months. Fortunately for them, we were organized to do design-build at that time. We were able to come up with a design they liked within a month and get it approved by the landlord and get it built in time for opening day.
As far as the design of the store, this client wanted a slick modern design to show off the stock of high-end French and Italian men's clothing lines. As Miami architects, we could visualize how well the colorful clothes would play off of the solid color cabinetry.
We gave him very modern cabinetry all done in two colors - glossy black and silver. The cabinetry had a mix of hanging space, an area for folded shirts, and a display area below a glass shelf.
The monochromatic cabinetry acted as a backdrop to the vibrant, multi-colored clothes. The store space was clearly organized and easy for customers to navigate. The design made it easy for the client to find what he wanted and buy it.
THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS
Working for a client who is going to open a store in a mall is more difficult than working for an owner who is going to build out a space in an outparcel or independent building. This is because the mall managers get an opinion. After the architect designs what the client likes, everything must be approved by the shopping center operator. In this case, the design of the actual store was well-liked, but coming up with a design for the store sign was more tiresome. The client and the mall could not agree on the sign. Finally, the project manager for Rouse came up with something everyone liked.
Since we were the architects as well as the general contractors under our sister company, Alligator Construction Corp., we were very involved with the installation. We did not have much time to actually build the store since the client had come to us so late. We did our best. However, we were installing the cabinetry the night before the mall opened. We got there with the furniture in the nick of time just before the mall was going to seal the floors.
The air-conditioning was by the mall chiller system. We had a water supply pipe and a water return pipe with the A/C/ unit in the ceiling. Early in the project, our air-conditioning subcontractor asked the Rouse Company to mark the supply and the return water pipes. They were put out by this request, but they did it. On opening day, it was raining inside the store from the water lines. The Rouse maintenance personnel had marked the pipes backward. We were so lucky! There was minor damage, but the Rouse Company picked up the tab for the repairs.
Working in an enclosed mall is not easy. This place particularly had no parking. The trucks for everyone had to be parked blocks away. Subcontractors are not used to working this way. This becomes more expensive construction than when there is ample parking, and the trucks are right there next to the space. Often, particularly when the project is in an operating mall, the managers insist on keeping the entrance to the store very clean. This means that often someone must stand by the door with a mop and/or a broom to keep it clean.
It was a challenging experience, but the owners loved the store. Another bonus was that it became such a popular store that it sold every expensive Italian, or French import in the store within the month. We hope that the beauty of the store attracted people in, while the straightforward organization of the store helped them to find things easily.
If you would like to build out a new store or remodel an existing one, call me, Maria Luisa Castellanos, R.A., LEED AP, the principal of the firm, 305-439-7898 or email at MLC@UnitedArchs.com