The Fashion Olympics: Literary Sustainability At A Vancouver Boutique
Danielle Steele and Tom Clancy aren’t normally associated with fashion. But they’re integral to the LynnSteven Boutique in Vancouver, British Columbia. When an interior designer at McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design, which renovated the 700-square-foot space, discovered 6,000 unwanted paperbacks in a book dealer’s basement, the team recycled them as building blocks in a gesture toward literature and sustainability. Of course, principal Michael Green says, “If you do that sort of thing, you get really funny looks from the contractor. Which is great.”
Stacked like masonry, the books form a freestanding cylindrical enclosure for a fitting room as well as an awkwardly placed restroom retained from a previous tenant. To keep the boutique’s overall color palette neutral, the books’ spines face inward—so author names are visible above the 7-foot-high steel liner that gives privacy to shoppers standing inside the book tower.
The books immediately started to attract male visitors in addition to the hipster female customers originally targeted by the owner, Nicole Dennis Durnin. (LynnSteven is named after her mother and brother.) So Durnin, ever the entrepreneur, decided to add men’s fashion to the mix.
The flexible hanging system will make that easy. A steel rail bolted to the ceiling supports inexpensive mill-finished bars of clear-coated steel that descend to support hangers of the same metal. Displaying Erin Kleinberg T-shirts and Paige Premium Denim jeans at various heights helps to modulate the space.
The corner storefront was once part of a hotel lobby, and half the floor dates to that era, spelling out Bodega Hotel in black mosaic tiles. Mounted on the wall above them, a white-lacquered credenza was cleverly built from affordable mass-produced kitchen cabinets. They’re the kind more commonly found over the fridge.
Photography by Arnaldo Rodriguez.