Soft touch for an Industrial Space

You may asking yourself, “What does a fashion studio have to do with urban or public design”? Great question. The answer is – Everything.

Creative Play is a phrase I use to describe our process in design. In that process, understanding neighborhood or urban development means participating at various scales of design thinking and finding creative ways that unusual elements might go together. The opportunity to work along side local fashion diva  Nikki Blaine was just the type of experience I simply didn’t want to pass up on.

The twist here is that while retail storefront property is the preferred logic in business 101 (and the most visible); Local community venues/incubators (i.e. Stutz or Murphy buildings) are attracting new generations of artists, fabricators, and non-profits (like Nikki Blaine) who co-habitat in large industrial buildings.  Their popularity is not just tied to their hip industrial affect, affordability, or location. Their value lies in the opportunity to exchange services and knowledge in an environment where it is highly encouraged.  The ability to share resources and then openly display those ideas every first Friday makes these complexes a unique solution to consider when thinking about urban regeneration.

In the Windsor Park community, the Circle City Complex may be considered by some to be a bit hard to digest or understand as a gateway. Or maybe not? Its colorful blue skin says very little about the dynamic group of hipsters, organizations, and fabricators inside the complex (enter – don’t judge a book by its cover). We have to imagine that the next big idea, multi-million dollar business, or store front tenant may evolve out of places such as these re-purposed buildings. The opportunity to work with Nikki gave us an inside view about how tenants use these spaces, their versatility, and budget. As the brainchild of Nikki Blaine Coutour, her imagination and business sensibilities asked w/purpose to help her with a downtown space to support growing client demand – all while sending a few emails, measuring a bride, or taking a quick call.  Her studio space, which really only opens every First Friday, needed to be minimal in its representation, but a strong in how it linked a space between what her fans saw online and when they might see it on a rack – true “couture”.

Her studio at the Circle City Industrial Complex on Brookside Avenue will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood and fashion industry in our community. She will be joining Exodus, Wug Laku Studios, Nick Allman, and Nancy Lee – all wonderful artists and organizations in our city (see Nuvo for complete list of artists)

Its official opening will be on August 5th, 2011.