Introducing Idea House 3: Walker Art Center’s Latest Retail Concept

Walker Art Center prepares to unveil its latest innovation dedicated to design on Nov. 16
Evan Fay, Lawless Side Chair, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Brass, heat treated steel, fabric, 17 x 23 x 32 in.

Photo by Evan Fay

Walker Art Center is launching its newest retail platform—a 1,500-square-foot collectible design store that features the work of local, national, and international designers. With a rich design legacy, the Walker wanted to create a permanent space dedicated to design—hence how Idea House 3 came to fruition. Created by the Walker’s Head of Content & Communications Asli Altay alongside Felice Clark, director of business development, the immersive retail concept seeks to emphasize craftsmanship in its many forms.

Organized to mimic the different rooms of a home, pieces in the retail space are carefully curated to make it easy for visitors to envision how the different furniture, lighting, tableware, textiles, and other decor might fit into their own interiors. The store spotlights single and special edition pieces, as well as one-of-a-kind exclusives.

Aleiya Lindsey Olu, Lyndon Chair, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Solid oak frame with matte satin finish, 22.5 x 19.5 x 41.75 in. Made in Detroit, MI.

Photo by Daniel Ribar

For the launch, the Walker has partnered with design curator Wava Carpenter, the brains behind the “Guest Room” presentation titled “Midwest Design Here & Now.” This presentation seeks to dispel the notion that cutting-edge design is exclusive to East and West Coast cities by highlighting the work of designers from around the Midwest, including Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and, of course, the Twin Cities.

The works featured in “Midwest Design Here & Now” “tell engaging stories of identity, community, and place inspired by the makers’ unique experiences and perspectives,” Carpenter says. Featured artists in the presentation include Ayako Aratani, furniture designer; Seth Keller, carpenter and cabinetmaker; Aleiya Olu, marketer and interior designer; and Cassandra Scanlon, ceramic and textile artist—plus Twin Cities local artists Zoë Powell, ceramicist; Mitch Iburg, ceramicist; and Jonathan Muecke, designer. Beyond the “Guest Room,” Idea House 3 will present work from over 50 designers.

“Idea House 3 offers a new vision to experience design by bringing together retail with museum-quality presentation and the knowledge-building of public programming,” says Atlay. This programming includes conversations with designers, curators, collectors, and innovators to serve as a platform for makers to engage with audiences and for guests to learn about the world of collectible design.

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