Mike Curtis, creative director at JGA, Inc., said that the goal of the 2,811-square-foot project was â€œto create a warm, engaging environment that showcases the unique products using finishes that complement and contrast the merchandise.â€ He added that another focus of the project was â€œto create a sense of implied rooms to help scale product and placeâ€ and to â€œdevelop a highly flexible setting to allow for ever-changing groupings within the showroom.â€
Dwyer Marble & Stone of Farmington Hills, MI, supplied 2,400 square feet of Terra Gris -- a honed Portuguese limestone -- in an offset running bond pattern of 16-x 16-inch tiles for the floor, according to the company's president, Joe Dwyer.
â€œFrom an importer/distributor perspective, any time you are working on 'national' projects or specifications with a local architect there can be challenges,â€ said Dwyer. â€œThe actual specification often times ends up being one of the easier tasks. Making sure that you're aware of building schedules and material requirement dates can become a challenge. Because materials are being imported for the projects, we either need to inventory for upcoming stores or ensure we have sufficient lead-time to meet construction deadlines.â€
The architects also chose various cut-to-size slabs of Mankato stone -- due to its texture and color range -- to fit the custom merchandising display fixtures. â€œ[The Mankato] has an architectural beauty compatible with the overall store design,â€ said Curtis. â€œOur client sells wood furniture, and we created the merchandising fixtures to be differentiated from the product for sale. The quality of the Mankato stone used on display surfaces reinforces the quality of the Levenger merchandise.â€
Mankato-Kasota Stone, Inc. of Mankato, MN, supplied 190 square feet of honed Grey Fleuri limestone stone to use as countertops in a retail setting. The pieces used included the following sizes: 1 x 3, 2 x 2, 2 x 3, 2 x 4 and 4 x 4 feet. According to Mankato-Kasota's Sales Service Manager, Pam Mayfield, 12 of the larger pieces had aprons epoxied onto them to give the stone a thicker appearance. She added that the Levenger store â€œwas a very standard project with straightforward fabrication.â€
For the exterior facade of the store, facing the entrance to the mall, architects selected Texas Mist limestone in 18-x 18-inch pieces. The stone was manufactured by Stone Tiles International and distributed by Virginia Tile Co. of Farmington Hills, MI.
The project began in April 2004, and lasted a mere three months, as the architects only encountered one setback -- trying to match the flooring of the mall to that of the new store. â€œThere was a unique transition at the storefront, where the finished sales floor was a slightly different height than the mall flooring,â€ said Curtis. â€œThe craftsmanship of an expert installer overcame this challenge by using the limestone to create a smooth transition between the two floor finishes.â€
He added, â€œWe have received positive feedback from the client and his customers about the uniqueness and the beauty of the store, including the stone used.â€