Seventh heaven: Alex Bellos walks us through Rejuvenation’s latest New York store
‘At the core, we’re all architecture geeks,’ chirps Alex Bellos, the CEO of Rejuvenation, the Portland-founded lighting and salvage store which 40 years ago began as a ‘platform of preservation and reuse’. Opening this week is the brand’s latest extension, its seventh store in the heart of Manhattan in a landmarked structure on Fifth Avenue near near the Flatiron Building.
‘We walked into the gold-gilt hallways of the Presbyterian building and fell in love,’ adds Bellos. It’s true, the somewhat-overlooked Romanesque Revival building, built between 1894-5, has layers of unique historical materials, some which Rejuvenation’s building team discovered as they demolitioned the space. ‘The team uncovered a wall of original terracotta tiles still beautifully intact,’ tells Bellos, and the brand agreed such details should be kept, and not simply for the cosiness it bestows onto the space. ‘It is always disorienting or forced when these types of details are recreated in new construction. Old buildings offer our design team a lot of lovely surprises and that’s why we love them,’ he explains, ‘and sometimes hate them!’
Rejuvenation offers a luxury hardware collection, including a wide-range of customisable options to match the home, from vintage-inspired door sets to modern drawer pulls
Inside the store is a seemingly endless maze of hanging lamps, Rejuvenation’s signature – the brand started with founder Jim Kelly refurbishing old fixtures, which led to manufacturing period-authentic lighting. Today, the Williams-Sonoma Inc-owned brand has expanded beyond just lighting to include furniture ‘made by hand’, and ‘beautiful and useful’ things for the home. ‘We’re proud to say that the majority of products available to our customers today are manufactured domestically,’ says Bellos, ‘As we expand to the East Coast we are finding new ways to grow our network in order to maintain this commitment to American design and manufacturing.’
With the New York grand opening, Rejuvenation collaborated with Rhode Island-based duo O&G Studio, which designed a complete line filled offerings, including the store’s de facto centrepiece, a Contrapesso LED-chandelier with an oversized 18in frosted glass globe, floating on a brass arm. ‘O&G and Rejuvenation share a similar approach to design. Our point of view is to imbue an object with meaning, history and a story,’ says Bellos. ‘We were drawn to O&G for their ability to make objects that are familiar yet unexpected with a level of restraint — their new take on a ladderback chair, for example.’ Not everything in the store is new either: ‘we just restored a Central Park bench that was installed in the park during the Robert Moses era circa 1939,’ adds Bellos.