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Danforth Pewter, National Harbor

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Shortly after working with Danforth Pewter on the redesign of their new Portland, Maine retail shop, we were asked to design a new store for them in National Harbor, Maryland.  While working on the Portland store, we took the time to really understand the Danforth story, and that resulted in a beautiful design that truly reflects their brand’s history.  The care and dedication we demonstrated helped us build a solid business relationship with them, rooted in trust and mutual respect. This set the tone for our second collaboration, and we were very excited to be working with them again.

Unlike the interior we worked with in Portland, the National Harbor space had no sense of historical tradition — just the impersonal, utilitarian feel of a generic retail store. To lend character that reflected the authenticity of the Danforth brand, we introduced reclaimed and vintage pieces.  We used antique workbenches as product displays to pay homage to the artisans who spent countless hours crafting each individual Danforth Pewter piece on their own workstations. The texture of the weathered wood contrasts with the shiny pewter, communicating the process but still allowing them to stand out visually. We also built custom slat walls from reclaimed barn wood that achieved the same look, and aligned better with the Danforth brand than the original slat walls that you see in most retail shops. As finishing touches, we incorporated tools of the trade into the product displays, using them as a subtle way to remind visitors of the history and craft behind each piece of pewter.  

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For what we couldn’t salvage, we fabricated pieces in the same style. The checkout counter was constructed to look like an antique work bench, complete with false drawers, shelves to display pewter products, and a zinc top with a custom patina finish. The front is uniquely beautiful, while the back is highly functional with modern drawers and shelves for store employees to use.

Because of the existing relationship and sense of trust we’d built up with the people at Danforth, we were able to push the design at National Harbor a little further. We’ve since had other repeat clients, and we think it speaks to the quality of our work and our skills in establishing lasting relationships. ∆

Olivia Tubio