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Shopping Around

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Photos by Ira Wexler 

Featured Company: Streetsense

Location: Washington, D.C.

Project Type: Retail Renovation

Project Name: Chevy Chase Pavilion

Creating an impression of ever-constant movement—by projecting moving images, adding vibrant colors and lighting, and forcing people’s attention toward the center of a space—is one way of retooling a dull shopping experience.

In renovating the Washington, DC- based Chevy Chase Pavilion, formerly a mall and food court built in the late 1980s, design firm Streetsense focused on “revitalizing the guest experience by reinforcing the dynamic relationship between the public spaces of the atrium and the surrounding retailers,” says studio head JC Schaub.

To re-route the circulation of space, the firm replaced a layout of disconnected escalators and stairs with an illuminated glass grand stairway and centralized escalator bank. To emphasize easy movement, free-flowing curves, bright materials, and natural elements intertwine around the pavilion atrium, or the “energy center of the property,” as Schaub calls it.

Behind the escalator bank is the project’s masterstroke: a three-story interactive LED art installation that “connects the entire property like a nervous system,” project designer David Pilkenton says. The installation creates, harnesses, and redistributes energy, bringing the property to life from morning—with soft, ambient lighting—to night, when vibrant colors splash through the shopping area and upstairs restaurant. Every hour, the LED installation catapults a vignette light “performance” with an accompanying soundtrack through the atrium. The shows “act as another unique feature, making the atrium feel like more of a destination and adding a fun element for guests,” Pilkenton says.

Amazingly, Streetsense and project collaborators were able to implement aesthetic improvements that eased customers’ shopping experiences while the property remained occupied by retailers and an on-site hotel. “With the addition of the grand stair, new escalator bay, and elevator renovation, it is now intuitive for visitors to maneuver around the mall and to get from point A to point B,” Schaub says.

As a result, the redesigned Chevy Chase Pavilion is now truly a vibrant “shopping center” and architectural gem.

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