what’s in store: tulsa, oklahoma
posted: December 5, 2013
We’re on cloud nine about Center 1, the first store we’ve ever built from the ground up
The heart of lululemon is, by far, our stores. They’re our lifeblood, our inspiration and our links to all of the wonderful communities where we—and our guests—get to live, practice and play. And because each community is unique, each store is uniquely designed not just to create the best flow, functionality and capacity for the space it’s in, but to revel in its local surroundings.
Center 1 in Tulsa Oklahoma, our first ever freestanding store that we built from the ground up, is no exception.
Center 1 on Peoria Avenue in Tulsa
The weather plays a big role in the psyches of the people of Oklahoma—and for good reason. The state lies in the southern-middle US within an area known as Tornado Alley, a unique geographic position where warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, hot, dry air from Arizona and New Mexico, and cool, dry air from Canada all meet. And it’s there, on South Peoria Avenue in Tulsa, where we built Center 1.
That little red dot is Tulsa
“We stood in possibility, in an empty parking lot on South Peoria Avenue, and from there we built a store just for Tulsa,” says our store designer Alison Janzen, who teamed with a local architect in the project. “We created everything our guests will experience from nothing, truly with this community in mind.”
Built in a neighbourhood of predominantly small, local businesses, all of which adhere to distinct modern design restrictions, for example the exteriors of all the buildings on the street must be painted white, Alison selected white accent pieces, such as feature pendant lights and seating, to create a visual relationship with the white exterior.
The result, says Alison, is that “the building comes alive with so much visibility into the store from the street and by creating opportunities for guests to visually interact with product before they are even inside.”
To take advantage of some unused roof space, the team also designed our first ever rooftop yoga deck featuring retractable canvas awnings—inspired by the white tents at the local Cherry Street Farmers Market—to provide shade.
The designer’s conception sketch of Center 1 on Peoria Avenue
“As a child I spent a good deal of time searching out evocative shapes in hidden in clouds and watching puddles dry after a rain,” says New York City-based artist John-Paul Philipe, who created a custom ironwork installation for the Center 1 store. “Shadows always seem to catch my eye and suggest images. All of these stimuli are presented as random occurrences, but I’ve always strived as an artist to filter all this into some kind of coherent expression.”
His design for Center 1 concentrates on the interplay of light and shadow on the sculpture. Juxtaposed against the white painted brick, the result is stunning and ever–changing.
Philippe spent 23 years living as a painter in London before moving to New York City, where he keeps a studio in Soho. His work has been featured in design magazines including L’Uomo Vogue and Wallpaper and the New York Times.
But Philipe grew up in the small town of Henryetta, some 50 miles south of Tulsa. As a child his mother would drive him to the “big city” to enter his paintings into exhibits. One time, he appeared on a local television program, The Betty Boyd Show, talking about a piece he created for the state fair. The TV station is located just down the street from the Center1 store.
Philippe is hesitant to give up too much about his ironwork “for fear of limiting the viewer’s perception,” he says, because there is beauty in the ambiguity it all. “The piece can be seen as a cloud that contains other shapes. I hesitate to reveal what they are because then the game is given away.”
What we do know, however, is the exact colour of the white paint used on the ironwork: Cloud Nine.
Philippe’s ironwork for Center 1. He’s also designed for Barneys and Nieman Marcus
THE DOORS ARE OPEN
Chocolates, candlelight yoga, rooftop yoga and lots of laughs marked the official November 22 opening. We might even be so bold to say that we blew in there like a tornado. Come visit us soon!
We’d love to hear which store(s) you particularly like and why—cuz we’re nosy like that.