Akron Northside Marketplace

I stumbled upon a really cool new neighborhood in Akron last night. The centerpiece is the Akron Northside Marketplace. The complex is adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Northside Station. Within easy walking distance of plentiful parking are a collection of shops, bars and restaurants. Anchored in the middle is a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

I attended a local food entrepreneurs meet up at the Countryside Conservancy’s Public Market. On my way out I briefly stopped upstairs to check out the community bar and shops. Many of the shops were open late. A sense of community is created with open seating, tv screens and tables where people can meet to exchange ideas, work or just share conversation over a few beers. Most of the shops appear to be smaller local start-ups and this space gives them the perfect leg up in starting out in the real world with brick and mortar retail.

Step out on the street and you can discover a nice environment decorated with holiday twinkle lights. Adjacent to the marketplace are fine dining and a wicked cool looking speakeasy. Above everything are condos that can be purchased in case one wants to live in the heart of it all. The entire complex has some elevation too so you get great views of the valley and city.

This is the experiential retail, food and hospitality spaces we need. And it’s all very well done. I’ve already made plans to visit again when I have more time, and bring my wife and friends for a night out.

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Wicked Cool Material Usage

I was at Best Buy the other day researching a project when I came across a couple new headphone displays that caught my eye. We’ve worked on plenty of these kinds of project, but I was really impressed with the use of unique materials. Why didn’t I think of that?

 

The Beats display used felt for the backdrop and head shaped headphone display mounts. Felt seems perfect for a headphone display since it resembles sound deadening material used in sound studios. We often talk about this material on these types of projects but never really came up with using it so nicely. The extruded look of the background is contemporary and pleasing to look at. And the use on the globe like “heads” is a fantastic, touch worthy detail.

Adjacent was a Skull Candy display with an awesome platform detail – stacked plywood and acrylic, below the headphone case display. Plywood is a great on brand material for Skull Candy, and the thoughtful way it was used in the display was well done.

These are two great brands to work on. Great products and brand stories, that give the retail designer a ton of room to do interesting, cool details and well thought out retail experiences. The use of these materials in these displays helps reinforce brand stories (sound story for Beats, authenticity and raw appeal for Skull Candy) while remaining playful and unique.

Wicked cool.

-Chris


Chris Weigand is an industrial designer with over twenty years experience designing retail experiences for over two hundred brands (including a few that sell headphones). Contact Chris today to have him help you tell your brand story at retail. 330.858.8926 or chris@chrisweiganddesign.com

 

3 Things I Like About LinkedIn(‘s Office)

While eating my Honeycomb┬« cereal and enjoying my coffee this morning I caught up on some of the trade mags I have piling up. In the June 2018 issue of Contract magazine I came across an article on the LinkedIn NYC office that M Moser designed recently. It’s a really nice looking office, with well thought out details throughout.

There is a lot of good stuff going on in this office space, if anything maybe too much, but I’m okay with everything I read and saw in the article. Here are three things that particularly tickled my design fancy:

linked in office image 1

Color square dividing wall.

Most of the renovated office is actually food service for the employees. The various food stations have different themes based on NYC parks. And apparently the Highline Park themed one has this excellent translucent color square wall divider. I love to nod to the skyline that surrounds the park, and the colors were selected deftly; greens at the bottom with blue skies and purple buildings and / or flora. I love the idea and it was executed well. The wall adds a perfect pop of color in a purposefully muted space.

Linked in office image 2

Extra long lamp cords, artfully arranged on the walls.

I think I’ve seen this before, but I still like it no less. In the article’s one photo they show overhead lams with purposefully long cords. The cords are arranged artfully on two walls to create modern wall art. I love the double duty of the cords acting as art which also negates the need to add another “thing” to the space in order to avoid blank walls. It’s a touch that, while may seem impractical and inefficient to some, actually kills two birds with one design stone thus being the very definition of efficiency. It also speaks to attention to detail both in design and everyday work life – a subtle reminder all can benefit from.

linked in image 3

Full size chess board on carpet tiles (presumably).

Last is the fun, life size chess board made out of (what I’m assuming are) carpet squares. Why didn’t I think of that? Only downside is it’s virtually impossible to discuss work during a chess match if you’re doing either right, I feel. That’s probably the point. Keep your mind sharp, while taking a break from helping people network.

Kudos to M Moser, LinkeIn and Contract for creating and sharing this project with the world. It’s a design feast of all the details that can make a work space delightful, engaging and appealing.

-Chris


Chris Weigand is an industrial designer and retail design consultant based in northeast Ohio. He may be contacted at 330-858-8926. All magazine images are borrowed from the June 2018 issue of Contract Design Magazine