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Press Release - New Huntington Store Set to Dazzle When it Opens Jan. 14, 2015
SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Store, anchor of the north section of the new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, will open to the public on Jan. 14, 2015. Sure to dazzle shoppers, the store’s displays will brim over with a spectacular selection of gifts and books, apparel, toys, and home decor relating to The Huntington’s vast library, art, and botanical collections. Twice the size of its predecessor at 5,000 square feet, the store highlights items that are luxurious, whimsical, beautiful, and unique in an airy central space with a vaulted sky-lit ceiling surrounded by eight thematic rooms.
The store is part of the new visitor center's front section, which opens on Jan. 14 to showcase a new coffee shop and full-service admissions and membership area as well. The rest of the complex will open in April and will feature a 400-seat auditorium, a large café with indoor/outdoor seating and garden views, four multi-use classrooms, meeting and event spaces, and an orientation gallery—all arranged amid six and a half acres of new gardens.
Upon entering the Huntington Store, visitors will be greeted in the spacious central area by dynamic seasonal displays. Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day will inspire the first arrangement, with Chinese home decor and an eclectic mix of romantic gifts. This mix includes Shakespeare’s sonnets on mugs and jewelry as well as unusual gifts with early illustrations of the human heart and skeletons “in love” inspired by The Huntington’s history of science collections.
Wrapping paper with illustrations of mushrooms, butterflies, and other ephemera; classical stone garden statuary; and botanically themed ceramics like handmade “Seedpod Bowls” and “Foxglove Goblets” will lure garden enthusiasts to one of the rooms.
In another room, high-end objects relating to The Huntington’s Asian gardens beckon, with exquisite handmade jewelry, Chinese porcelain, lanterns, and unique gifts such as handcrafted Japanese ikebana flower vases in fine wood boxes.
An extraordinary chandelier of porcelain teacups can be found in an alcove focused on the genteel rituals of afternoon tea (a favorite tradition in The Huntington’s Rose Garden Tea Room), along with tea sets reminiscent of the priceless collection of Sèvres porcelain on view in the Huntington Art Gallery as well as those based on famous children’s storybooks.
The highlight of a family visit to the store will be the children’s area, anchored by a whimsical, lifelike tree hung with plush toys of singing birds. Among its gnarled roots children can sample books in child-sized “tree seats.” Time-honored Steiff brand teddy bears roam here along with custom Huntington Gardener Bears, which have an embroidered Huntington “H” on their paws.
Grownups will gravitate toward a nearby room that specializes in books relating to The Huntington’s renowned collections of material on British and American history and literature. Subjects range from California history to Jane Austen, from Charles Bukowski to Shakespeare. Distinctive book-themed gifts can be found here, such as men’s ties with the look of book endpaper marbling and natural quartz bookends.
The Huntington’s art collections inspired a room devoted to art books and gifts as well as one focused on the Arts and Crafts movement. This alcove includes items large and small, from William Morris-inspired textiles and furniture handmade by Southern California craftsmen to Arts and Crafts lamps and handmade tiles.
Another specialized area in the store features Huntington-branded keepsakes along with books produced by the prestigious Huntington Library Press.
Finally, a small, rarified space toward the back of the store, known playfully as “the vault,” allows visitors to handle the highest-end china, jade, fine jewelry, and silk art scarves, and to see up close a limited-edition, hand-embroidered Chinese screen based on The Huntington’s Audubon masterpiece, The Birds of America. These screens were made expressly for the store’s opening and are available for sale only at the store or online atthehuntingtonstore.org.
The Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center is designed by Architectural Resources Group. Miroglio Architecture and Design created interior finishes and furnishings for the Huntington Store.