Among the new high-end stores at Domain Northside stands the four-story, 60,000-plus-square-foot RH Gallery, which, with its Venetian plaster exterior, cypress trees, and Juliet balconies looks like an inviting Italian villa. Designed by award-winning architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, RH Austin (formerly Restoration Hardware) offers a floor dedicated to its RH Modern line of home furnishings and accessories that launched last year, along with the RH Contemporary Art collection showcasing emerging global artists; it also includes a full-service Design Atelier, the Ben Soleimani Rug Showroom, and a standout 11,000-square-foot rooftop park complete with banana palms, sculptural evergreens, and topiary. We caught up with Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman, who came to Austin for the grand opening this fall.
What do you want to inspire in clients with the magnitude and design of the new RH Gallery at Domain Northside? GARY FRIEDMAN: We want to create one-of-a-kind retail environments that blur the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, physical and digital spaces where we can showcase the comprehensive breadth of our offerings in dramatic and aspirational installations unseen before.
Your opening-night party brought out a who’s who of Austin’s tastemakers, including Camila Alves. What was that like? GF: I was very excited about the response to the evening. We had well over 2,000 people turn out. It appears everyone was having a good time. Of course, they were all drinking Cipriani Bellinis, so that could have contributed to it!
How was the service experience crafted to help guide new customers through the space? GF: What we do is create an environment that’s both inspiring and intuitive at the same time. It allows people to explore and experience [the store] in a realistic and abstracted manner. That’s why we call it a gallery: there’s an ability to connect and see it in your space, but it’s abstracted from real life. We support that with the design team that helps people bring it to life in a personal way in their own homes. We want to inspire people first. Then our design consultant is there to understand the opportunities or problems that our guests are trying to solve...and help them imagine a way to amplify their space at home. Domain Northside, 512-342-0614