Come Together

Heritages coalesce in REI’s latest flagship, where community and love of the outdoors is more than just a passion, but a way of life

By VMSD magazine Kaileigh Peyton August 15 2017


Ice manufacturing plant, professional hockey rink, basketball arena, the site of The Beatles’ first U.S. concert, waste transfer facility, correctional institution, parking garage: You could say Washington, D.C.’s historic Washington Coliseum has lived quite a storied past over the last three-quarter century.

With a long, vibrant history of its own, Kent, Wash.-based outdoor retailer REI – founded in 1938 by climbing enthusiast couple Lloyd and Mary Anderson, who sought to improve the variety and quality of products available to other nature-lovers – knew it was right at home in the NoMa neighborhood’s bygone Uline Arena (the building’s other former name). To breathe new life into the once-celebrated structure, REI partnered with Seattle-based CallisonRTKL and Douglas Development (Washington, D.C.) – which purchased the site in 2004 – to collaborate in the imagining and execution of its fifth flagship venture.


Photography: Aaron Leitz Photography, Seattle

“Some of the biggest physical challenges with the building itself had to do with the fact that this structure hadn’t been occupied in decades, so it was in extensive disrepair,” says Alex Shapleigh, senior vice president, CallisonRTKL.

The 51,000-square-foot REI store encompasses only a portion of the entire site, including the first floor of the former arena and ice house. Offices occupy the floorplates above, so ceiling heights (or lack thereof) were of great concern, says Shapleigh, since many of the retailer’s products require vertical room to be adequately displayed. Excavating five feet below grade proved to be the best solution to address this concern, and worked doubly by opening sightlines and creating a wide-open feel, allowing passersby to view more angles of the store.

In efforts to distinguish the site’s offerings from its other flagships – and differentiate it from the eight already-existing stores in the Capitol city – the retailer went straight to the source, asking its D.C.-based co-op members what they wanted in store. “We pulled in some of our best members in the neighborhood and actually had them tell us what they were looking for in the experience,” says Elizabeth Dowd, divisional vp, retail experience, REI.

REI designers knew from their research that bicycling was one of the most popular activities in the region, but its members helped identify how important it was to include an easy-to-access parts and repair shop at the front of the store, making it effortless for cycling customers to ride in and out.

Getting longtime area residents and NoMa’s up-and-coming young professionals to convene at the store for longer than just an average shopping trip was another goal. To do this, the retailer added experiential elements, including a 1052-square-foot La Colombe café, where shoppers can refuel and plan the next outing; an Adventure Station (in partnership with the National Park Service) to connect members to outdoor experts and advice; a community space with free or low-cost in-store classes for paddling, hiking, climbing and more; and perhaps most surprisingly, a vast outdoor courtyard.

“The courtyard is very reflective of the outdoors … We wanted to give those moments where guests could really talk and learn and connect,” says Dowd.

The 2500-square-foot area, which includes fire pits and ample hangout space, was a big undertaking considering its focus wasn’t directly on selling, but as Shapleigh describes, “It was worth the investment [to REI] to dedicate that much energy and dollars to create that community give-back space … where REI could host educational talks, community events or demo gear.”

To solidify its status to its co-op members as the premier expert in camping and nature sports, the store incorporates dedicated equipment and repair shop-in-shops for biking, skiing and snowboarding, as well as a collection of “gear shops.” At each turn, knowledgeable associates are available to listen to inquiries, identify a bevy of products that might be most helpful to them, then assist in narrowing down to an item that best suits their needs – more akin to a friend helping a friend.

Retaining parts of the edifice’s architectural charm, as well as incorporating found objects, including vintage posters from the coliseum’s concerts, a ’60s-era Volkswagen 1500, and worn arena seating repurposed as decorative wall art, were all part of “keeping the building’s soul alive,” says Dowd. “This co-op has a long history, and that building really reflects that history.”


REI, Kent, Wash.

REI, Kent, Wash.
CallisonRTKL, Seattle

Douglas Development,
Washington, D.C.

James G. Davis Construction Corp., Rockville, Md.

Courtyard Mural
Jeremy Collins,
Kansas City, Mo.

Mannequins Silvestri California






Trina Turk Brings a Touch of Palm Springs to Larchmont Village

2:10 PM PDT 4/3/2017 by Stephanie Chan

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

The local L.A. neighborhood just got more vibrant, thanks to the L.A.-based designer.Trina Turk, known for her colorful bold prints and yearlong summertime designs, is bringing her playful vibe to Larchmont Village.

The L.A.-based designer, who founded her California-inspired line in 1995, previously set up shop on Third Street until last year. "We had some really great years there, but then it sort of just slowed down," Turk told The Hollywood Reporter of her decision to close that location, citing constant traffic and lack of parking as issues. "We decided we needed to find a new location."

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

Turk considered several neighborhoods in L.A., including Robertson Boulevard, Sunset Plaza, Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and Downtown. But none of the locations fit her vibrant brand. That is, until she came across what would end up as her new storefront in L.A. on 212-214 N. Larchmont Boulevard.

"It feels very neighborhood-y here and centrally located," said Turk. "Also, I've been a customer at Larchmont Beauty Center for years and years, so when this space became available, I was kind of like 'oh, my gosh, it's right next to Larchmont Beauty Center. And a lot of women, who I know, shop there. It just seemed like a good synergy."

Designed by Bestor Architecture's Barbara Bestor, who has partnered with Turk on previous projects, the new 2,000-square-foot store features wall panels made of walnut wood, textured surfaces covered with ivory silk tussah and cream scalloped floor tiles.

"Since our clothing usually has a lot of color and pattern, we wanted to have a pretty quiet backdrop," explained the designer, who's often referred to as the unofficial ambassador of Palm Springs, where she has her largest retail boutique, and a weekend home. 

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village

By the dressing room, a custom blue ombre wall serves as a sort of oasis for customers. "We wanted it to have a beach-y feel," she noted. Of course, there are pops of yellow seen throughout the space, from the store's outdoor awning to the mustard mid-century chairs found in Highland Park.

The Larchmont location, now open, offers the designer's ready-to-wear, accessories, swimwear, activewear and Mr. Turk menswear. The designer also plans to offer L.A.-oriented products, from totes to t-shirts, by July.

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village Designer Trina Turk and her husband, Mr. Turk designer Jonathan Skow, at the opening of the Larchmont store.

Courtesy of Forest Casey, Trina Turk's store in Larchmont Village Designer Trina Turk and her husband, Mr. Turk designer Jonathan Skow, at the opening of the Larchmont store.


Trina Turk Opens Los Angeles Store on Larchmont Boulevard WWD


By Marcy Medina on April 4, 2017


Trina Turk has opened a Los Angeles boutique at 212-214 North Larchmont Boulevard. The 2,000-square-foot space, three storefronts combined, replaces Turk’s West Third Street location, which closed in September 2015.

The broad street-facing windows and two entrances are reminiscent of Turk’s original Palm Springs flagship, which sells both her women’s line and the Mr. Turk collection designed by her husband Jonathan Skow. Turk again partnered with Bestor Architecture to create the modernist California interior, which features ivory silk tussah walls, white oak accents, scalloped floor tile and brass finishes. A vintage Lightolier chandelier and pops of yellow reflect Turk’s sunny brand DNA.

“We had a soft opening last week and are still tweaking things,” said Turk. “We’re adding a custom wallpaper that’s an ombré from light beige to aqua because we wanted it to feel, like, beach.” This is Turk’s 12th boutique; in California she also has stores Manhattan Beach and Fashion Island in Newport Beach as well as a pop-up shop in the El Paseo shopping center in Palm Desert, Calif.

The Larchmont neighborhood is an established pedestrian retail stretch central to Hollywood and downtown L.A., which made it an attractive location for Turk, whose line is also available in Bloomingdale’s shops-in-shops in South Coast Plaza and Fashion Valley in San Diego.

Turk said she plans to start offering studio services from the store, which is in close proximity to Paramount Studios, CBS Studios and other Hollywood production companies. On the retail front, she plans to cap the number of boutiques for now and focus on her e-commerce business. As for product, she’s starting to experiment with specially designed placement prints on garments as opposed to all-over prints, which she said “has been the most successful for us recently and is expanding on our print identity in a new way.” It’s a technique she said she’d like to also apply to her swimwear, and she is also printing on different materials for fresher effects.