Rustic Takeovers – Karoo + Bellina at Ponce City Market

The former Sears and Roebuck building that forms the shell of Ponce City Market is a towering, airy place—more warehouse than cabin in the woods. At Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design, we were excited to be a part of two retail locations that defy those expectation a bit though, creating spaces that are warm and intimate within Ponce City Market’s grand-scale industrial wrapper.

First, glasses retailer Karoo is the new kid on the block in the eye checkup and trendy frames world, and the company takes a very different stylistic stance than its mostly bright white, clinical competitors.  Warm, woodsy and welcoming, everything about Karoo’s interior is rustic and beautifully rough-hewn. Also, everything wood in the space bears our work. We partnered with Square Feet Studio who created the architecture and interiors, skinning the walls in weathered oak and cedar, creating cubbies and a coffee bar station, reception desk and even a giant mead-hall like table that anchors the 2000+ square foot space. This was a project that was all about materials— random, natural, weathered—they’re the focus, and where we started collaborating on finishes and selection of the perfect natural elements. You should definitely take a look, all puns intended.

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While Karoo sits nestled in PCM’s largest outbuilding, anchored by Binders Art Supplies, Bellina Alimentari lives at one end of the Market’s impressive food hall, flanked by West Elm. A traditional Italian kitchen, market, wine bar and “culinary club”, Bellina feels a bit like walking into an old-world Italian grocer’s—the heat of the oven’s fire radiating around you, the scrape of steel ringing out as a butcher slices cured meats. Everything is made from scratch here, and our custom shelving, chalkboard, curvy stool bases and column wraps in oiled walnut (all created in collaboration with designer Smith Hanes) amplify the casual, welcoming vibe—a deliciously imperfect hello. Those wraps are another spin we’ve taken on utilizing the ordinarily lost space around PCM’s many large columns, and something we love checking out in spaces around the building, as we’re fascinated by the many solutions other builders have come up with.  Also worth mentioning: later this month we’ll be crafting Bellina’s outdoor banquette seating, meaning we’ll be even more inclined to sit and stay awhile.

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