Founded in 1997 by college classmates with a passion for art, architecture, and design, Blu Dot is a modern furniture design company based in Minneapolis. Blu Dot’s furniture can be found in many independent design stores, online, and in the company’s own retail locations. Seeking the ideal San Francisco site to complement its Blu Dot stores in other locations, Blu Dot searched the city until the perfect spot became available on one of San Francisco’s most vibrant streets.
The building at 560 Valencia had been vacant for a few years; formerly occupied by a furniture showroom. The building was a plain one-story box with a worn-out façade dating from the 1940s. Blu Dot was the ideal fit. The approach for the remodel was expedient, much like Blu Dot’s furniture: clean up the existing interior space and replace the façade with a modern design that would showcase the product line but at the same time fit comfortably amidst the architectural variety prevalent in the neighborhood.
The metal screen was fabricated from a stainless steel sheet by a Bay Area fabricator, also an architect. Details were carefully worked out in consultation with the fabricator in order to ensure a crisp, well-tailored result. Computer files generated by the architect were used to fabricate the panels. Although a building is a bit larger than a typical furniture piece, the assembly of the façade was approached in a similar manner. The new storefront was intended to be a transparent plane allowing views into the interior and reflections back onto the street.
The store fits both the scale and pulse of Valencia Street without drawing too much attention to its architecture. The idea was to create an honest building with a contemporary timestamp simply inserted into one of San Francisco’s oldest but most eclectic neighborhoods.