KIKU OBATA & CO. PAPYRUS * Palo Alto, Calif., and Seattle In the category of Renovated Specialty Stores (under 2,000 sq. ft.), Kiku Obata & Co., St. Louis, was awarded the 1999 SADI for its design of Papyrus in Palo Alto, Calif., and Seattle.

These two prototype stores are designed to express the enduring, personalized qualities of sending a card or handwritten letter. The stores celebrate the artistry of Papyrus' products and convey a relaxed yet elegant feel with the mix of woods, sophisticated colors and unique materials.

The design team integrated materials used in process papermaking, including bent wire, screens and wood. Banners resembling drying sheets of handmade paper hang from the ceiling, further reflecting the Papyrus name and adding texture and visual interest to the space. Papyrus is the plant used by ancient Egyptians to craft paper.

To make the store, and its products, more approachable, the design team created distinct areas to appeal to specific customer needs. Such zones as "Make a Beautiful Gift," "Select a Unique Paper" and "Create the Perfect Invitation" are defined by feature walls with specialty fixtures, lighting and signage.

Challenged with balancing material costs with the design budget, the design team prioritized the elements that were most critical to communicate the store's sophisticated, elegant look. Accent lighting and wood fixtures were deemed the most critical. Therefore, the team made great efforts to value-engineer these elements without sacrificing the design's overall quality.

Time was also a factor at the Palo Alto location. The original store was relocated to a smaller space at the center while the prototype was being built. The team had four weeks to finish construction on the space, before the lease expired on the temporary space. The store opened on time.

Wood furniture, such as writing desks, nesting tables and oversized round tables, are scattered throughout the store, leaving many areas for seasonal displays and cross merchandising.

Behind the cashwrap, graphics list Papyrus' services and mission statement. The graphics are flanked by two outer panels representative of the design concept: the art of papermaking and the artistic qualities of Papyrus' products.

AWARD RECIPIENT KIKU OBATA & CO.

St. Louis

Kiku Obata; Kevin Flynn AIA; Kathleen Robert; Denise Fuehne; Russell Buchanan Jr.; Lisa Bollman; Carole Jerome; Jeff Rifikin

CLIENT: PAPYRUS

Oakland, Calif.

Product Manufacturers/Suppliers: Pedro Pablo Ramos, Miami (architect of record); VZA Architects, Miami (project manager); Premier Builders, Gig Harbor, Wash. (general contractors); Hedrich Blessing Photographers, Chicago (photographers); Silver Star Cabinets, Washougal, Wash. (fixtures and furniture); Bentley Carpets, Lafayette, Calif. (flooring); GE Lighting Supply, Brea, Calif. (lighting); Integrated Sign Systems, El Cajon, Calif. (signage and graphics fabricators)