Last week, a bunch of us from the studio gallery took a trip down to Valencia street to check out some cool places with interesting imaginative environments.
First, we visited the Pirate Store at 826 Valencia which serves as the front for Dave Eggers' tutoring center and publishing headquarters. We met the friendly shopkeeper who provides information, sells pirate supplies, offers treasures for bartering and does moppings. The store is packed with old shelves and drawers filled with surprising treasures, traps doors with hidden switches, a beautiful copper periscope that displays a delicate watercolor of the ocean, and too many other delightful secrets to name.
Some of the most intriguing aspects of the environment were how they created a space that rewarded curiosity with areas too high or too low for everybody to reach/notice, covered the walls with whimsical signs that did not simply offer information but drew people into the imaginative narrative of the store with a consistently funny style, and offered a setting for people to keep exploring and finding new things to share with others.
We also went to Paxton's Gate and Paxton's Gate kids and admired the use of old furniture, the way they displayed precious objects, and another version of a myriad drawers with surprises inside. Looking at these places allows us to not only draw on the design of other science and art museums but other interesting spaces that might provide morsels of inspiration.