Story of Portland Downtown Store: LRS Architects


For this post, we would like to share the story behind the interior design of our forthcoming Portland Downtown store through an interview with LRS Architects. The new store will have a ground level and mezzanine level. The ground level will be filled with books in both English and in Japanese, Studio Ghibli merchandise, unique stationery, and more. There will also be a cute, comfy café where you can enjoy reading your book and drinking delicious Matcha Latte. The step seating right next to the café leads to the mezzanine level, which will be dedicated to graphic novels and manga with a great view of the entire store.

Interview with LRS Architects

LRS Architects is an architecture firm that has been in the industry in Portland for 40 years. They have been involved with a wide range of projects including housing, commercial office, historical renovation, retail, and more.

LRS Architects helped design our Portland Downtown store from scratch. The three interior designers from LRS Architects who worked with us are: Ingrid, Jena, and Victoria. They shared with us how they turned a vacant historic theater into a thriving bookstore!

Design of the Store: Guild Theatre + Japanese Bookstore


Q: How did you finalize the design?
Kinokuniya USA came to us with this great inspiration package of what they wanted from that space and we narrowed in on those ideas so that there wouldn’t be a cluster of a million ideas shoved into one space. The Guild Theatre is such an amazing space and we didn’t want to take away from that either.

Ingrid: The interior space was demolished before we even came on so we got to start with an amazing volume of space. The Guild Theatre exterior marquee will remain as it’s an iconic element of the history of the building and we are adding the Kinokuniya brand to this well recognized site in downtown Portland.

The space itself was really fun because it is a big volume with lots of room to play. That helped generate many ideas but we were also intentional in creating a place that was refined and clean rather than cluttered or chaotic. The Kino team came with many amazing ideas and the design process was really one of editing and refining the strongest idea and pulling those threads out to create the final concept.

Jena: By doing that, we were able to stay true to Portland. I know that was a big challenge coming in. We didn’t want it to be just a random store in the United States. We wanted to be true to Portland because it is also a historical site, in downtown, right in the middle of everything.

Refining the Strongest Ideas: Stay True to Portland


Q: What does it mean to “stay true to Portland?”

Ingrid: We didn’t want it to be too polished. Even though Kinokuniya is an international brand, we wanted the store here to feel local. I think what really gives that Portland feeling is the craftsmanship. In imagining the shelving and woodwork going into the space, we were looking for a custom, made on site feel (not premanufactured). It is going to have that feel of being handcrafted, which is really important in a city that celebrates makers.

Part 2<<Unique things about Kinokuniya Portland Downtown store▷

Ingrid: Project Manager
Ingrid was born in Oregon, and has lived in the Bay Area, L.A., and abroad. After working in architecture, engineering, and as an aerial artist, she found her niche in Interior Design.  She loves how architecture affects people’s experiences of space.

Jena: Interior Designer
Jena moved from New York and had a dream to create a bookstore. Her favorite authors are Patrick Rothfuss, J. K. Rowling, Brian K. Vaughan, and Steve Niles.  She originally went to school for graphic design and later transferred into becoming an Interior Designer.  

Victoria: Interior Designer
Victoria was born in Central California. She originally wanted to become an architect, since her favorite subjects were math and art, which eventually led her to interior design. She loves watching season changes in Portland, Oregon.

Visit their website to learn more:


Kinokuniya Portland Downtown Store
829 SW 9th Ave,
Portland, OR 97205