April 30, 2018

Arcturis Designs a Stylish Space for the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator

Just a few generations ago, countless dresses and pairs of boots were designed and made in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Second only to New York in importance, the city was known as a fashion capital that helped dress the nation. That role has faded over the years, but the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator aims to revive the industry.

Garment displays and furniture groupings in the showroom can be rearranged as needs change. Photography by Alise O’Brien.

The non-profit, which provides emerging designers with studio space, a stipend, and mentorship, envisions a hub of local companies designing and producing garments. Former CEO of architecture and interior design firm Arcturis Patricia Whitaker believes in that mission and connected her firm with the organization. Working at a reduced fee, Arcturis spearheaded space for the incubator’s showroom and offices. The design focused on clothing production and display, purposefully keeping many elements minimal and modest.

Existing maple floors were patched, sanded, and refinished. Photography by Alise O’Brien.

“Much like a museum, the incubator was conceived as a neutral backdrop,” design practice leader Don Koster says. Natural light and collaborative spaces were emphasized. Furniture and production pieces had to be durable and flexible to evolve as the community’s needs change. Above all, the attention rests on clothing and its making. The street-facing graphic says it best: Fashion Lives Here.

Designer offices face one another to promote collaboration. Photography by Alise O’Brien.
Entry to the offices is via sliding glass doors. Photography by Alise O’Brien.
The stairway was painted black to provide visual contrast. Photography by Alise O’Brien.
The design and production areas occupy a mezzanine above the offices. Photography by Alise O’Brien.
The graphic “Fashion Lives Here” is visible from the street. Photography by Alise O’Brien.

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