Carhartt hometown flagship store by RGLA Solutions Inc
As the official garb of hands-on laborers, it was only fitting that Carharttâ€™s hometown flagship pay homage to Detroitâ€™s past as a manufacturing city. The site â€“ a former car dealership, built in 1928 â€“ references the metropolisâ€™ leadership in the automobile industry. Painted on the art deco buildingâ€™s faÃ§ade, a Diego Rivera-style mural titled â€œBorn in Detroitâ€ depicts the cityâ€™s pivotal roles in the railroad, automotive, agricultural and construction industries. To preserve the historic building while capturing the retailerâ€™s aesthetic, architecture and design firm RGLA Solutions Inc. (Schiller Park, Ill.) treated the storefront as a memorable touchpoint.
â€œCarhartt wanted a signature element that customers could identify with,â€ says Ed Hanlon, senior designer, RGLA, which included weathered steel doors with Carhartt-logo handles, flanked by art deco metal grilles. The storeâ€™s design proudly looks to the past, but doesnâ€™t forget to look forward, reflecting Detroitâ€™s current renaissance. Working alongside neighborhood development groups, local vendors and tradesmen, the project was truly a homegrown effort: Designers even used reclaimed wood from abandoned Detroit homes for cladding and fixture tables, stamping each piece with its original address.
â€œAs [a firm] â€¦ there is no greater satisfaction than to help bring to life a vacant building that once stood empty â€¦ and let it become a key part of a revitalization movement,â€ adds Robert Arend, principal/chief operating officer, RGLA
And the flagshipâ€™s appeal to both its core audience and a new, younger demographic wasnâ€™t lost on VMSDâ€™s competition judges: â€œPeople who wear it for work would be comfortable here, as well as those who wear it for fashion â€“ it feels soulful,â€ said Ryan Brazelton, executive creative director, Interbrand Design Forum (Dayton, Ohio).
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