Professional Jeweler Archive: Ancient Inspiration

December 2004

Image/Store Design


Ancient Inspiration

California gallery named one of the top new retail spaces


Patronik Designs Jewelry Gallery, Burlingame, CA, is having a moment. Its redesigned store was recently named one of the top 16 best new retail spaces by Display & Design Ideas magazine, a design industry publication.

In addition, the store’s owner, Nick Kosturos, and its architect, Miroglio Architecture & Design, Oakland, CA, were named best designers of a store under 1,500 square feet by Visualstore.com, a Web site for architects and designers.

Rebuilt after a fire, Patronik emerged with a fresh perspective that combines the aesthetics of an art gallery with those of a metalsmithing studio. On the outside of the nearly 1,300-sq.-ft. store, the facade appears to be still under construction, like an almost-finished jewel. The corbels on the top facade are copper and stainless steel, and the awning is articulated like jewelry.

The architect used the previous space as inspiration for the redesign by using a lot of the same components, but in new ways. He also liked the idea of symbolically carving away the old store’s design and revealing the new one underneath.

The interior reflects art gallery design more than a traditional jewelry store layout. “We carry designers of very unique and contemporary collections, so it made sense to place each jeweler’s collection on its own pedestal as an art gallery would,” says Kosturos. The jeweler custom-designed about 60% of the selection; the rest is by Gregg Ruth, Judith Conway, Novell, Laura Gibson, Jane Bohan, Robert Wander and others.

The Wall

Kosturos and the architect also created a central reliquary wall that can be seen from the street. A reliquary is a wall with cutouts where bones and artifacts are placed. This version is cut with small see-through geometric niches and windows where jewelry and local art are displayed.

The idea of calling to mind a space that stores precious relics was intended to remind customers that jewelry is timeless, something that’s passed down through generations and is very precious. Visitors also can see a genuine relic: a handmade light sconce from the previous store salvaged after the fire. It was installed into the front of the reliquary wall.

The wall, a coral shade, also draws customers throughout the store. “Anybody who comes in always goes to the very back of the store,” says Kosturos. “We tested a lot of colors. It had to mediate between the colors already there, from the warm maple floor to the copper [accents].”

Paths of Stone

As customers enter, they see marble, slate and stone floors that act as pathways. There’s also carpet on one side and maple flooring on the other. White walls enhance the gallery feeling, as do the stand-alone showcases finished in copper and lined up along both sides of the reliquary wall. Jewelry is arranged by collection.

The jeweler’s workshop at the back is featured behind a galvanized and copper wall. Customers can watch Kosturos create jewels through a window; he also meets to discuss custom orders in a consultation area in the rear.

A first-generation jeweler who earned a master’s degree in English and minored in art, Kosturos is a self-taught jewelry designer. He began silversmithing in 1975 and later studied with the Gemological Institute of America, earning certificates in diamond grading and gemstone identification. He also has a store in San Francisco.

  • Patronik Designs Jewelry Gallery, Burlingame, CA; (650) 344-0402, www.patronikdesigns.com.
  • Miroglio Architecture & Design, Oakland, CA; (510) 891-9145, www.madarchitect.com.

– by Michael Thompson

The exterior of the Patronik Gallery looks like it still needs more corbels (brackets) at the top like a piece of jewelry still not complete.
The center interior wall is modeled after an ancient reliquary. Jewelry is displayed in cases in the niches.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications