Anchoring a block in Boston’s Back Bay, the Boston Society of Natural History building – known over the years to Bostonians as the Bonwit Teller building and later LouisBoston – had been renovated so many times that its original 1863 neoclassical grandeur was lost under layers of drywall.
RH – the lifestyle brand formerly known as Restoration Hardware – sensed the potential for this historic landmark to become the perfect setting in which to experience the full breadth of its luxurious home furnishings. RH’s brand combines tradition with modernity to create an environment filled with balance, symmetry, and exquisite proportion.
To showcase this brand in Boston, the Louis Boston building was restored, reclaimed and transformed into the Gallery at the Boston Society for Natural History. Bergmeyer was part of a collaborative, multi-office design team that used bold architectural moves to redesign four levels of retail sales into uniquely merchandised galleries.
An existing three story central atrium was significantly enlarged and anchored by a new custom glass and steel traction elevator. A new glass and steel entry pavilion redefined the building’s entry axis, connecting it to pedestrian traffic on Newbury Street. Historic plaster, millwork, and steel details were painstakingly restored or recreated. Wall, ceiling, and decorative surfaces were coated with a warm sheen of neutral gray and charcoal to complement the true focus of the store: the product.
Beyond a place to simply sell furniture, RH Boston created an immersive environment that showcases the luxury home-decor lifestyle brand, while breathing new life into one of Boston’s most iconic shopping destinations.
Awards • Association of Retail Environments Store of the Year • Association of Retail Environments Grand Prize Specialty Store Over 25,000 sf • IIDA New England Best Retail Design • RDI International 1st Place Hard Line Specialty Store • RDI International Innovation in Planning