Independent Goods by Best Practice Architecture, Sun Valley – Idaho

January 16th, 2018 by retail design blog

Combining retail and event space, Independent Goods evokes the feeling of a frontier outpost. The store highlights hand-crafted merchandise by independent makers, and art that celebrates the rugged mountain region. The interior is defined by a large canvas tent that serves as nod to the once-frontier aspect of Idaho’s past, and helps to create privacy for special events.

Custom-designed furnishings are by Pacific Northwest craft furniture makers and arranged between the white-washed wood panel walls. Niches create display spaces for smaller items. All furniture is mobile and reconfigurable, facilitating change from retail to small event space. The shop is situated in an existing retail strip along the main retail street in the resort town of Ketchum (part of Sun Valley area).

The client’s vision for the store is to highlight hand-crafted merchandise by independent makers and art that celebrates this rugged mountain region. Handcrafted leather goods, paper products and glassware, forged metal objects, pottery and artisan-made jewelry are displayed alongside art from local purveyors.

Interest in the high level of craft and the stories of the talented craftspeople dovetails nicely with the owners’ keen reverence for the history and influence of this place. Tapping into references of the National Park Service, the Union Pacific Railroad, the development of the ski resort in the 1930’s, and Ernest Hemingway’s tenure in the region, the design team sought to express this love and connection to the mountains, and to the pioneering spirit of those who helped shape the community.

The interior of the store takes shape around a large, two-tone, handmade canvas tent that hangs from the ceiling over the rear merchandise tables. The tent helps to define a volume within the deep storefront space, and to provide privacy should a special event be taking place in the store. The custom-designed furnishings were fabricated by Pacific Northwest craft furniture makers and arranged between the white-washed wood panel walls Select niches punctuate these walls creating display spaces for smaller items.

A custom-designed wall mural at the rear of the space depicts a typical mountain scene in nearby Sawtooth Mountains. Based on an original oil painting by a local artist, the image is overlaid with John Muir’s famous text, “The mountains are calling and I must go,” which serves to beckon visitors into the space.

Design: Best practice Architecture
Photography: Ray J. Gadd

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