Pottery Barn returns to its roots with the opening of a new flagship in the Flatiron District of New York’s Manhattan. Originally launched in the Big Apple in 1949, the now San Francisco-based home furnishings retailer has come full circle, finding a new home in a landmark Beaux-Arts building dating back to the glorious days of “Ladies’ Mile,” the spawning ground of the first department stores.
Adorned with original Corinthian columns on its façade and interior, the historic building dating to 1904 provides the perfect setting for Pottery Barn’s latest concept store. With the goal of being locale specific, the environment is a new branded experience with a distinct New York vibe.
In a nod to the period architecture, vintage furniture and found objects sourced in Brimfield, Mass., were layered into the store. Pottery Barn’s Jacob Feder, vp of visual merchandising, says, “This created a true sense of discovery for our customers.”
The brand demonstrates its commitment to sustainability with wood fixtures – including wall treatments – floor-standing presentation units and cashwraps, made of reclaimed wood from Far Rockaway Boardwalk.
The existing light wood flooring was kept to serve as a canvas for highlighting various woods and fabrics found in the store’s product offerings; the flooring also celebrates the history of the building. “One of our goals was to maintain the integrity of the building’s architecture,” says Feder. “Toward that end, we developed a shelving system around the existing columns but left the capitals exposed ... we intentionally kept the existing raw wood floor. We sanded it down and left the imperfections and the resultant patina.”
Traffic flow is driven by strategically positioned perimeter focal points, including a tiled antique mirror wall and a highlight wall featuring reclaimed wood and framed images of New York. Customers are enticed to the lower level bedding area by a mosaic staircase referencing the iconic New York City subway. Tile mosaics at the top of the stairs say “downtown,” while tiles at the bottom read “uptown.”
The dual-entry footprint, with access on 19th Street and 20th Street, prompted a unique design solution. Feder said, “We were able to change a challenge into an asset as the long corridor connecting the two entries provided a stage to highlight two apartment lifestyle presentations.”
The merchandise assortment is curated to meet the needs of New Yorkers residing in small Manhattan apartments. This flagship is the first location to introduce “The Package Deal - Home in a Box,” showcasing small-space living with Pottery Barn quality. The strategy is to enhance the shopping experience with an inviting and relaxed environment, offering a fun and easy way to decorate a small home.
Key to this concept is the “Design Crew,” a proprietary cross-brand service that welcomes customers to work with a design team specializing in finding solutions from all eight Williams-Sonoma Inc. brands, including Williams Sonoma, Mark and Graham, Rejuvenation and West Elm, among others.
With this new concept store, Pottery Barn’s return home offers New Yorkers an exciting new direction for their own home sweet homes.
Photography: Oleg March, New York