Project Spotlight: Our Place
Images: Jenna Peffley, OTTO (unless otherwise noted) // Installer: Our Place, Menemsha
Step inside social media darling Our Place’s retail store on Melrose Ave and you’ll feel like you just walked into your coolest friend’s home–which is precisely what designer Madelynn Ringo of Ringo Studio was aiming for. Terraced displays, unexpected vignettes, and arched niches show off the brand’s cult-favorite cookware, tied together by carefully curated shades of Fireclay tile.
We sat down with Madelynn to chat about the inspiration and design process behind this highly Instagrammable store and why ceramic tile was a key factor in creating an immersive customer experience.
Meet Madelynn Ringo!
Image: Elizabeth Carababas
First, can you tell us a bit about yourself and Ringo Studios?
I am an architectural designer (from Kentucky!) and I founded Ringo Studio in 2020 as a creative collective of experiential architecture and design obsessives. We thrive on the deep-set exploration of a brand’s identity and physically bringing it to life. Our portfolio includes designs for beauty, wellness, and culturally inclusive lifestyle brands such as Modern Age, Our Place, Contact Sports, Funny Face Bakery, Bala, and Studs.
Our Brooklyn-based studio works out of a beautiful coworking space called The Malin in Greenpoint, but our design team comes from around the world from London to Hong Kong and Brazil to Arizona!
Prior to founding Ringo Studio, I worked for a diverse range of companies including architecture firms, hotel brands, and tech startups, working on projects such as luxury residences, national museum exhibitions, fashion week events, contemporary art museums, and retail pop-ups. My love for retail and brand design grew from my experience working as an in-house designer at Glossier where I lead the design for highly experiential and community-focused retail popups in cities such as Miami, Boston, Austin, and Atlanta.
Image: Anna Morgowicz
What piqued your interest in design?
What I love about architecture and interior design is the process of being able to take someone on a journey of color, light, textures, and form. Changing people’s perspectives about what can be beautiful, not simply operational, is one of the most compelling aspects of my work.
What part of your design process do you enjoy the most?
I love the curiosity and discovery process of finding the visual character unique to each project. Understanding the personality and persona of whom the space is for leads to the development of the overarching design but also the creation of the customer journey. The architectural design and narrative design work together to fulfill the needs of each visitor.
When we first meet with a client we seek to understand the vision and the goals. Not just one goal but the needs, views, must-haves, and aspirations from every different internal perspective. We’ll then pull references of all different scales and ideas, textures, and materials to create a visual language of the project. A living, breathing mood board.
Image: Anna Morgowicz
What have been some of your favorite projects to design and why?
Each new project always brings with it a series of challenges for our team to learn from and ultimately grow and refine our creative process. Working on the Our Place store on Melrose was an opportunity for our team to learn about designing and building with ceramic tile, a material that we were less familiar with in our other retail projects.
Tile Shown: 2x8 in Clover and Dusty Blue in Our Place's Melrose store.
Designing the Modern Age clinic was a truly rewarding experience. It was an opportunity to deep dive into the cultural taboos and fears around the process of aging and to explore how design can be the tool that redirects that perception, particularly for women. The design of Modern Age transcends traditional healthcare experiences, blending joyful colors, sophisticated technology, and a sensorial atmosphere that ultimately creates an environment that customers are excited and proud to be visiting, the design gives them the confidence to take control of their aging journey.
Image: Anna Morgowicz
We also recently completed a new store in Soho, NY for Contact Sports , a brand that is changing the way customers are shopping for sex toys and intimate objects. The design narrative that we developed for this brand elevates the shopping experience and makes it fun and communal. We love working with clients who have a clear vision of how design and architecture can impact customer behavior and create a more inclusive experience.
Image: Anna Morgowicz
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I see space from a sculptural stance. I believe in taking risks, and moving away from expectations when it comes to infusing texture, form, materials, and color into an environment. There’s so much to gain from pushing functionality into a realm of convention-breaking. It’s all about the end experience and I want it to be eye-opening and tangible at the same time.
Our ultimate goal for each project is to craft an experience that is truly unique to the brand and its mission. When you look at our portfolio of work as a collection, you can certainly find themes. Sometimes those themes are visual (we like curves!) but you can also see a theme across the types of Clients that we choose to work with. Ringo Studio is always seeking to partner with companies and brands that are willing to take design risks and who see the value in investing in creating a thoughtful and innovative customer experience.
Image: Anna Morgowicz
How did you get involved in the design of Our Place? Were you familiar with the brand?
Our past Clients Natalie and Max, the founders of Bala, connected us with the Our Place team. I was familiar with the Our Place brand as they were frequently on my social media feed. I do not cook often in New York (my fridge is filled with face masks and my pantry is extra storage for my suitcases) and I did not previously own an Always Pan. But now I do and I must say that the quality and aesthetics of their products have encouraged me to experiment more with cooking and try new things out!
What was your process for developing the color palette for the store?
Many many tile samples!
If the brand already has an established product line, we work directly alongside their physical products to ensure that we are building a cohesive palette.
Sometimes the intention is to try and match a brand’s color palette as closely as possible, but often we are instead trying to contrast the product with a complimentary texture allowing the brand to take on a unique look and feel as it translates into the textures of the physical environment.
This process expands the brand language into another dimension, and often the architectural materials may feed back into the brand in other ways such as influencing their marketing and creatives teams or providing a new architectural lens for them to explore across other channels.
Tile Shown: 2x8 in Ivory
What were the key design elements that you wanted to incorporate into the space? What was your inspiration?
The store is designed to feel like you have stepped inside your chic friend’s apartment and are shopping directly from their kitchen counters. There are playful details that nod to the Brand’s vibrant product and campaign photography such as the checkerboard pattern painted on the ceiling and the colorful cabinet knobs which are actually from the brand's distinctive pan lids.
Tile Shown: 2x8 in Adobe
While the front of the store is lighter and more colorful, the back is painted in a deep terracotta limewash with a focal wall of arched display niches tiled in blues and greens and featuring the brand’s best sellers. Sheer linen curtains and diaphanous textiles, suspended from the ceiling, are answered by a heavy, sculpted dining room table styled to look like a dinner party frozen in time. This visual story recalls the warmth and conversation from bringing family and friends together over a shared meal.
We wanted to create an unexpected surprise moment that would drive home the brand's mission and provide an iconic photo content moment. A tiny hidden room in the back is lined with lavender and blue tiles with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. One-quarter of a squiggly table styled like a picnic creates an infinity illusion of a never-ending reflection, representing the brand’s mission of “Building a bigger table" is realized, aptly merchandised for an iconic Instagram photo.
Tile Shown: 2x8 in Dusty Blue and Ivory
How is the layout of the space designed to enhance the customer experience?
The first focus for every project is sketching out the floor plan and getting it grounded in a sense of reality and practicality right away. Once you can hone in on the parameters, it allows for a blossoming of creativity inside those parameters.
From a functional side, the store layout needed to accommodate an expanding line of product categories and colorways. From a conceptual side, we wanted to create multiple rooms inside an open floor plan with curated vignettes highlighting product pairings that tell a story about cooking. This layout approach creates a meandering path for customers as they become immersed in the brand’s world. It encourages product discovery and allows the customer to picture themselves in their own home cooking with these products and evening styling their home around themes of cooking and gathering.
Tile plays a big part in the store, what was your approach to tile design in the store?
When building our initial design mood boards, we wanted the store to have a complex material palette with a range of scales and textures. The tile was the material catalyst that would transport the customer to that familiar feeling of domestic space by incorporating textures often found inside a home.
The ceramic tile provided a durable and color-saturated backdrop for displaying the brand's merchandise. To soften the rigid grid of the grout lines, the tile was cut in large waves sweeping across the limewashed walls.
Working directly with the Fireclay team, we were able to review multiple tile samples to ultimately select a palette that perfectly complements the beautiful colors of the Our Place products.
Tile Shown: 2x8 in Tumbleweed
Inspired by Our Place’s out-of-the-box design? Bring home 5 free color samples to curate your own perfect tile palette.
Shop the Story
- 1/ Adobe, 2x8
- 2/ Tumbleweed, 2x8
- 3/ Clover, 2x8
- 4/ Dusty Blue, 2x8
- 5/ Ivory, 2x8