Professional Jeweler Archive: Small Is Beautiful

December 2002

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Small Is Beautiful

Kabana's Plano, TX, store is a good example of limited space used well


The challenge is one you may have faced: How to design a store in a small space with enough showcases to properly merchandise jewelry without crowding.

For Keith Kovar, a principal of GRID/3 International, the well-known jewelry store design firm in New York City, this challenge represented the ninth time he’s gone to bat for Kabana, a manufacturer in Albuquerque, NM, that had previously branched out with retail boutiques in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska and Texas.

Kovar had 900 square feet in which to work; to add to his difficulties, the space was triangular. The designer capitalized on the quirk, creating a detail wall of imported Chinese slate tile installed diagonally. The wall is a backdrop for a burnished stainless steel Kabana sign.

Continuing with a geometric scheme, Kovar designed a series of light-colored ceiling drops, each aligned with the showcase directly below. The ceiling cutouts convey a feeling of openness and create a focal point above the central showcase island.

The showcases, built by Kabana’s own cabinet maker, represent 150 linear feet of space. They are furniture-quality and made from cherry and maple veneers. Kabana also made the wall panels for the store, which are maple trimmed with cherry. Kovar designed compact fluorescent wall sconces that blend with the design and complement the central overhead light.

The store, Kabana’s first in Texas, is located in The Shops of Willow Bend in Plano, a high-end development by Taubman Centers, the Michigan developer of pricey retail space. GRID/3’s design was carried out by McCaslin-Hill Construction, which used templates to align the ceiling and light fixtures with the showcases and then fit custom-cut carpet to the unusual showcase design.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

Kabana’s new store in Plano, TX, features ceiling cutouts aligned with the showcases below. The design conveys a feeling of openness in a small space.
A detail wall of imported Chinese slate tile is the backdrop for the Kabana sign and highlights the highly geometric layout of the small space. Unobtrusive wall sconces increase the sense of spaciousness.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications