Designer Tina Frey’s home goods are deceptively simple. To create them, Tina first hand sculpts each piece and then it is cast in food-safe resin or metals before being hand-finished. Some pieces have leather handles added or other details added.
Similarly deceptive is the new Tina Frey Designs showroom in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. From the outside, the studio’s corrugated metal façade is punctured by a narrow rectangular band of light that hints at the bright gallery-like space inside. Designed by architect George Bradley, the showroom, which doubles as the company’s headquarters, clean light wood divides the space in office space, meeting areas, and product displays. Tina says, “I wanted a space that was modern, minimal, and simple and had lots of natural light, and natural wood, which is a nice offset to our resin and metal collection. I like that we can now display the entire collection together in one space. When people come to visit, they really see what we are about and what we do.”
Congratulations on your new space! Is this your first public showroom?
The first showroom was actually in our previous studio in Dogpatch. However, since the space was not specifically built out for our purposes, the showroom also doubled as a creative space and photo studio when necessary. People familiar with our studio knew to visit the showroom, which was on the mezzanine level, but it was not always set up as a showroom due to the multi-use space. We were thrilled when we had the opportunity to really design the current building specifically to our needs. I knew we wanted lots of natural light and light wood throughout. During the renovations when the roof needed to be replaced, we added skylights throughout. The showroom is nice and bright and we all find it super inspiring to work here. It is also nice that the showroom is flexible for us to change out the displays as necessary so it allows us to treat it as an exhibition space. I want to make and show more creative pieces and it is super inspiring to have a place to display them now.
Were there any particular challenges in the design or construction process?
The challenge was that we had to get the roof replaced as quickly as possible before moving in. That got done, but as with lots of construction projects, the rest took longer than expected so when we first moved in, we were in the midst of a construction zone and it was noisy and dusty. The new bathrooms were also not completed yet. Right after they were done, we had to chop up the tiles in the bathroom again when the plumbers discovered a problem afterwards. That was rather stressful. In the end, all was completed and we are super happy with the space. The design was the fun and easy part since we worked with an architect, George Bradley, who I was already working with for our house.
What are a few of your favorite design elements in the space?
A few of the favorite design elements are the following: I finally have a separate creative space on the mezzanine level with lots of natural light, which is great for photography. It is nice to have a separate area where I can be creative and really make a mess and lay everything out when I sculpt or sketch, etc.
I love the light wood panels throughout the space and the natural light too. It makes me smile when I get here.
See the new Tina Frey Designs showroom in the slideshow!