Designing DeVargas

                I’m excited to be designing interiors for five Santa Fe shops relocating to DeVargas Center as well as updating the mall itself, creating a fresh look for a new era.

When Sanbusco Market was sold to the New Mexico School for the Arts earlier this year, five stores decided to relocate to DeVargas and to substantially expand in size. We’re designing the interiors as well as the front facades for Bodhi Bazaar, Teca Tu, Pandora’s, Kioti and Dell Fox Jewelry.

As you can see by the drawings here, each shop will have its own look. Bodhi Bazaar wants a sexy shop so we’re doing warm, dark grays, polished steel and chrome and re-skinning the exterior with glass and concrete. Each shop will have a better space, with high ceilings and more room.

I love working with commercial spaces. They’re a designers dream. You can work on behalf of the owner’s wishes but create a fantasy. We’ve worked with other commercial spaces, including the Zia Diner and Geronimo, where we created the bancos, chairs, drapes and pillows.

We’re also designing a new facade for the mall and creating exciting spaces using glass, lighting and more. Take what I call “The Concrete Jungle,” for example, the dated seating area in the center of the mall. The first thing most designers would think is that the whole thing has to be removed. But that’s a knee-jerk decision. To remove this and just replace the floor is an answer but then you have to replace all that square footage in the center of the mall with furniture and features. To me, that’s not an answer. So instead, we’re lowering the walls of the center staging area, and we’re re-skinning the blocks in a brown-tan Arizona sandstone tile. We’re using high-end materials and displaying them in a regional way. We’re keeping the blessing of this space— the high ceilings the decent light from skylights and the beautiful polished concrete floors. And we’re keeping the stage where people bring their kids to sit with Santa Claus.

When the project is done, the owners hope to make DeVargas a town center, and they’re offering reasonable rents to the new shops. We’re thrilled to be part of this renovation, and we’ll keep you updated as the work continues in future blog posts here.