If you walk by the retail bays at Capital Apartments this summer, chances are you’d be drawn into an intimate lobby with murals and panelled glass, leading you into seven pop-up shopping spaces. Then you’d learn, through a friendly conversation with the business owners or from the artistically designed logo, that you’re at this year’s Vignettes Design Series Festival, Brick and Mortar.
Every year, Vignettes takes over under-utilized spaces in the downtown core and brings together designers, architects and artists for a design festival. This year they teamed up with the Downtown Business Association, offering rent-free spaces for local businesses to test out physical locations.
“This is different from what we’ve done before,” says Amos Kajner-Nonnekes, design director of Vignettes. “There’s a fine line between giving creators freedom and reflecting start-up brands. What’s really exciting to see is how the designers put their creative thoughts into the retailing experience.”
At the Brick and Mortar festival, you can find vintage goods at Las Vintage, unisex fragrance at Libertine Fragrance, wine and snacks at Rge Rd Larder, and more. Vignettes also hosts its own gallery and retail space, with small home goods and art products in stock.
“The designers really put innovative thoughts into it. We have an intimate smelling booth for the fragrance products. And in Token [Token Bitters] you can try cocktails with some of the bitters. A big part of the festival is to think about how we weave the brick and mortar experience into our culture, to make coming into the store a thing to do for people in our community.”
Take a tour at the reinvigorated art space and shop local at Vigenettes’ Brick and Mortar Festival, now open until August 27.