Event designer David Stark seems to have his finger on the pulse all the time, and his latest venture is a charming pop-up retail space (or 'ambush' as he calls it) called WOOD SHOP, which is set to open this week at the stylish home store Haus Interior in New York City.
The idea for WOOD SHOP first came about when David proposed the idea of doing a month-long retail space 'takeover' inside Haus Interior to shopowner Nina Freudenberger. Nina, who attended college with David at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and was excited to support and work with more designers, immediately agreed.
WOOD SHOP will be open only during the month of February. For the 'ambush,' David and his team have designed a collection of quirky objects that are not only all handmade locally, but also have a Valentine's Day slant to them. We'll let you be the judge of whether you think that was intentional or not, but for everything else about WOOD SHOP, we chatted with David and Nina to get the full backstory. Read the interview below and check out the slideshow for some of the items that will be on sale at Haus Interior starting this week...just in time for V-Day.
Stylelist Home: David, you're no stranger to doing design partnerships -- the recent West Elm one comes to mind. What makes this one different?
David Stark: A store 'ambush' pushes the pop-up store to the next chapter. The surprise 'take-over' is fun, radical and puts the theater back into shopping. And for me and my design team, it provides a wonderful artistic challenge to create a collection that is conceived as an experience from the onset. The fact that so many of the items in the collection are hand-made here and by us also is a marked difference with WOOD SHOP. We’re excited about that!
SH: Nina, what made you decide work with David?
Nina Freudenberger: I’ve been a longtime fan of his work. And then we met at a RISD alumni function...he’s been in the store a couple times and was excited about it. And we thought it would be so wonderful to collaborate with artists and let a designer take over the space, so we spoke and that’s how we came up with idea of an 'ambush'.
SH: Why the name Wood Shop? Does it have a sort of personal resonance with you, David?
DS: The double entendre of a store and the iconic wood worker’s atelier interested me for its humor. We spend so much time in our actual wood shop, though, making things out of wood for the events we design and plan, it struck me one day that isolating the materials and imagery of that studio would make for a really fun shopping installation.
SH: There's been a number of pop-up design shops in recent years, what makes this one different?
DS: Most of the pop-up stores we have developed, the most recent being the Missoni for Target blockbuster, have been marketing platforms to bring attention to a collection that is being sold in a much larger marketplace. WOOD SHOP is conceived from the onset as an art installation and a concept shop where the collection was created specifically for this and ONLY this experience.
SH: David, how did you come about deciding on the materials for the items in WOOD SHOP?
DS: The materials all come from a wood shop -– wood, tools, even workwear. Every material and all iconography is endemic to the concept.
SH: How long will it take to set up the shop?
NF: It’s going to be set up in one day. And I think that restraint makes sense for a pop up or an ambush. But we’ve been working on this conceptually for 6 months.
SH: David, you obviously have experience with designing spaces in short amounts of time, what's the biggest challenge in setting up WOOD SHOP inside a pre-existing store in just 24-hours?
DS: The space is very small and narrow, so moving the existing Haus Interior products out and our set pieces and products in make for a gridlock of traffic if one is not organized! Leaving elements in the truck until we absolutely need them is key.
NF: And for us it's a totally different scale of products. I've never given a designer the entire store space for a full month, and they have to work with the constraints of store and our display...our products had to be removed and replaced with their products. David was the perfect person to start this.
Flip through the slideshow below to see some of the quirky offerings designed by David and his team for WOOD SHOP. All images courtesy of David Stark.