August 30, 2010

What's Now - It Must Be Love

One of my favorite events of the year is the US Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Everyone in my family is an avid tennis player and fan alike. I am proud to say I took home the ladies’ championship in our local charity tournament this year, and my dad won the men’s. Giving back and winning continues to be a family tradition!

I have my tickets for the Women’s Finals and Men’s Semi-finals on Saturday, Sept 11, but am definitely disappointed that Serena will not be playing on the circuit this Open. I'm sure she'll be there to support her sister, but maybe to promote her newest business venture too – a chain of nail salons where the polishes are named after tennis terms! As a weekly manicure maintainer myself, I’d like to try all the colors, like 'Match Point', 'Love All' and 'Strings'.

So what does any of this have to do with materials? Well, it was really exciting to have just supplied materials for the USTA permanent booth. The booths on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds house a (tennis) shopper’s dream of apparel retailers. Polo Ralph Lauren is the sponsor again this year – need I say more? I can't wait to shop there next weekend - you know it's important for this Materialista to look at the top of her game!

It’s always fun to work on projects that hold personal interest, and the tennis connection started with the refreshed USTA headquarters, where they selected Porcelain flooring. Collaborating on the booth project made me appreciate the challenges and effort put into designing a space that has to perform well, but will only be open for 2 weeks a year.

Christie Kratzer, Design Principal of Reztark Design Studio, explains the design vision for the USTA booth, which will serve as the prototype for the other locations around the park:

“The USTA asked to unify their strong brand image in their retail locations creating a sophisticated and memorable experience with a new, fresh, sustainable face to compete with the high-end retailers on the grounds. The first phase was to renovate the Octagon which is a walk up store. All materials needed to be very durable and able to survive in a non-air conditioned space and promote the USTA’s green initiative. We used the Ecolinea wood veneer as a soft accent to represent he wooden rackets of old. The veneer has helped to bring the store to life.”

Tennis anyone?

August 10, 2010

What's new: ShoeWoo (Woo-hoo!!!)

ShoeWoo HOOOOO!!! Who needs the Land of Oz when there is the land of shoes. Stilettos, peep toes, ankle straps - oh my! With Susan McCoy, Vice President of Store Design and Shop Development, heading up the design, Jones Apparel Group has executed a wonderful concept to merchandise their brands (Nine West, Anne Klein, Rachel Roy, to name a few).

I have to admit I was so distracted by the shoes I could barely focus on the materials in the shop. But luckily for the Materialista, the whole entire retail space is eye candy! There is almost 1,000 square feet of porcelain in a beautiful cream color installed on the first floor with splashes of hot pink, lime green and purple accent colors on the walls and chairs. And, did I mention the fabulous swing next to the 20-foot tower of shoes? This shoe store is designed to be what every woman dreams about!

On the second level you discover the "attic", with all reclaimed wood armoires, half painted walls and signs that read, "These shoes are made to woo" - all to inspire you to buy and buy.

My favorite piece is the six-foot stiletto shoe statue hanging from the wall. You just have to see it to believe it. Once you've filled your shopping bag, you can't help but to return, of course, to get that other pair of shoes you just can't live without.

Prepare to be wooed!