With the opening of the Design Within Reach store, the Galleria shopping center expands its grip as the Twin Cities' top destination for home decor.
"No other place in the Twin Cities has that concentration of home furnishings, especially for upscale goods," said Dick Grones, principal at Cambridge Commercial Realty in Edina.
Design Within Reach, based in Connecticut, brings top-notch modern furniture, often designed by architects. The company was looking in the Twin Cities for a large space to show off classic designs such as the Saarinen Tulip armchair or the Eames Lounge Chair as well as new pieces from emerging talents Norm Architects, Studio Tolvanen and Jeffrey Bernett.
"It's an innovative, high-quality product," said Billy Beson, a Twin Cities interior designer. "Everyone deserves to live around good style and design. Places like Design Within Reach bring good design and make it more readily available to the public."
At one time the only people who could purchase some furniture lines from Europe were those who were part of a trade group, said KimPhillips, a DWR spokeswoman. "Our founder, Rob Forbes, wanted a company that allowed anyone to purchase Herman Miller or Knoll products in a retail setting," she said. Herman Miller is now the parent company of Design Within Reach.
This is not DWR's first foray into the Twin Cities. Its Uptown location opened in 2004 and closed nearly 10 years later. At 18,000 square feet, the new location is more than three times the size of the former Uptown one.
"The old location wasn't large enough to showcase how to live with modern furniture," said Alain Capretz, director of studio showroom design at Design Within Reach. "The new studio shows how to incorporate modern into homes and lifestyles."
It also includes a nod to Minnesota with a section called Lake House. It's meant to evoke the feeling of a luxury lake home. It was developed by White Bear Lake architectural firm NewStudio and features outdoor collections from Loll Designs, which is based in Duluth.
With the new store, half of the retailers in the Galleria offer furniture or home furnishings, up from 30 percent five years ago, said Wendy Eisenberg, the center's general manager. "The furniture and home accessories focus is a beautiful complement to fashion," she said.
Besides Design Within Reach, Galleria's other home furnishings/accessories retailers include Arhaus, Crate & Barrel, Gabberts, Pottery Barn, PB Teen, Restoration Hardware, Ampersand and Williams-Sonoma, which added a furniture section in a recent remodel. Accessories are sold at Ampersand and Sundance.
Nearby on France Avenue, shoppers can pick their style and price point among furniture and accessory stores that include Room & Board, Macy's Home Store, Ethan Allen, Kohler, World Market, La-Z-Boy, HomeGoods and Hom Furniture. Restoration Hardware, whose lease expires in 2019 at the Galleria, is expected to build a four story, 50,000-square-foot RH Galleries store in the southwest corner of Southdale's parking lot.
DWR is part of the expansion made possible when Barnes & Noble downsized and moved to the lower level. Four more tenants will be announced within the next month. New tenants already announced will be opening by the holidays, including Cov restaurant and Soft Surroundings as well as locally owned Roe Wolfe and Big Island Swim and Surf.
"We will be fully leased by the holiday season," Eisenberg said.