Dressed To Impress
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 10/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
The Ports 1961 1,300-square-foot interior with restored bow-truss ceiling. Photography by Paul Warchol.
Designers tread a perilous path when conceiving a fashion boutique. Overachieve, and it's a garment-upstaging distraction. Underachieve, and it's a stockroom with attitude. But for Interior Design Hall of Fame member Michael Gabellini and partner Kimberly Sheppard, navigating that fine line is a cakewalk.
For the first U.S. retail outpost for contemporary women's-wear brand Ports 1961, the Gabellini Sheppard Associates partners envisioned a loftlike boudoir for the 1,300-square-foot Los Angeles space. They layered the exterior and three-room interior with materials that are progressive yet natural, industrial yet organic—descriptives also apporpriate for the label's clothing.
Travertine clads the street-front facade. Stained American walnut frames the entry door, fitted with a sinuous silvery handle. Inside is a textural medley: pale-taupe concrete flooring, mocha/gray plaster walls, walnut display platforms. Severe intermingles with supple: Tibetan carpets dot the concrete; acrylic shelves nestle in white-polymer swaths; tops and dresses hang from delicate twisted-nickel bars. All of this is anchored by the 11-foot restored bow-truss ceiling, stained a sultry espresso.