In today's increasingly digital marketplace, retail spaces are often an afterthought. But when Reshma Patel set out to open Quiet Storms—a new fine jewelry boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—she knew design would be just as important as the curated selection of baubles on offer.
"We wanted to create an environment that felt noticeably calmer and quieter, so that our clients [could] enjoy coming in off a noisy street and feel as though they had the space and time to try pieces on, ask questions about our incredible designers, and consider their purchases," Patel explains.
To create a space that does just that, she looked to residential design. After a friend introduced her to Elizabeth Roberts of Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design—a Brooklyn-based architect known for her subtle, refined work on town houses and lofts around the city—Patel realized she'd found her design partner for the project. "I knew she would approach our store as a unique project, rather than another retail environment," Patel says.
To convey her vision for the store, Patel began by sharing stories of shopping for jewelry with her mother at boutiques where sitting and having tea was treated as equally as important as browsing the display cases. For her part, Roberts says the project was a chance to play with techniques like ethereal curtains that surround the shop floor and keep back office spaces out of sight. "Residential projects often require a bit more consideration of the many years that a family will spend in their home. As a result, these projects can require that we create a more timeless space," Roberts says. "Retail projects typically allow for more experimentation."
For furnishings, the pair looked for polished pieces that wouldn't distract from the designs on display: sculptural and understated jewelry by emerging talents like Gabriela Artigas, Uncommon Matters, and Delfina Delettrez. Their work is displayed in a mix of vintage 1970s cases by the Design Institute of America and custom pieces by Visual Millworks set on hand-dyed tables by Scout + Gather. A vintage sofa by Vladimir Kagan and lighting by Vico Magistretti and Elliott Meier round out the room.
"I love that the first things you encounter when you walk into the store are a gorgeous nine-foot banana tree, a stunningly shaped sofa, and a coffee table and books," Patel says. "It gives our clients a chance to exhale, take in the environment, and then start browsing and shopping when they're ready."
Quiet Storms is located at 142 Grand Street, Brooklyn, New York.
Cover photo © Dustin Aksland
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