Contemporary home furnishings retailer West Elm (2929 Magazine St., 888-922-4119) opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 24. A subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, the store offers furniture, bedding, home accessories and lighting, all designed by an in-house team or handcrafted by international artisans. Eleven Lousiana-based artists have products in the Magazine Street store, the brand's 59th location and first in Louisiana.
"We feature a ton of local makers," says public relations manager Kendall Coleman. "We are working in 15 different countries to create the products you see here ... we embrace indigenous crafts and work with the makers to develop our designs."
Coleman says consumers are increasingly focused on where their food, clothes and cosmetics come from. "That conversation carries over to the home," she says. "[West Elm] has rugs woven in India, pottery from the Phillipines. ...[Customers] want to be able to tell the back story."
The store's 9,000+ square feet (which once housed a filling station) have been renovated with local touches. A display of flattened horns hangs behind the register counter and reclaimed shutters and pressed tin tiles decorate the walls and ceiling.
"West Elm is focused on becoming a part of Magazine Street," says West Elm creative director Vanessa Holden. "The building is so fantastic; the installations are so particular to the market and the local selection is incredibly exciting. There is a great design community here we want to be a part of."
The store offers free design services and will host workshops and craft nights. The first 300 customers to spend more than $50 at its grand opening (10 a.m. Thursday, July 24) receive a free tote bag by The Grove Street Press.