REI SoHo, New York, United States

The historic Puck Building, built in 1885 in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood, was renovated in November 2012 to become REI’s first retail store in New York City. The new store melds REI’s rugged outdoor aesthetic with the storied building, incorporating and celebrating many of its original structural elements. To do this, we carefully revealed the original building structure by exposing the beautiful heavy timber, cast iron columns and masonry materials in an authentic way.

The original wood ceiling and wall cladding was re-milled and brought back to feature on interior walls. Wood joists salvaged during construction became stair treads, wall features and custom fixtures. More than 7,000 sq ft of wood was reclaimed. Other unique aspects include displaying 30 stone printing tables from the early 1900’s, which we unearthed during renovation, chandeliers seven-feet in diameter, and two 14-foot flywheels from the building’s original steam power plant – part of the building’s printing and publishing origins. 

Deciding the best way to connect the two subterranean shopping levels with the street level posed another challenge. We created a large floor opening in the center of the main sales floor, producing excellent visibility and customer flow between all three levels of the store. This solution not only solved the connectivity issue but also became the design centerpiece for the project and acts as a vista for customers getting their bearings within the store.

Large scale photography, graphic textures and stories are woven into the overall design to further connect customers to their love of the outdoors. The REI SoHo store offers an unparalleled opportunity to share, with a large and diverse group of locals and visitors, REI’s core mission to: “inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.”

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