Story of Portland Downtown Store: LRS Architects - Part 2


As we shared in last week’s post, LRS Architects helped design our Portland Downtown store. Here comes the second part of their interview, where we ask to share some exciting aspects of the store to the three interior designers from LRS Architects: Ingrid, Jena, and Victoria.

Sense of Journey and Discovery

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Q: Can you tell us some unique things about the store?
What’s very unique about the store is that there is not going to be a huge amount of exterior presence. When you walk up from Directors Park (located in front of the store), it is really going to look like the Guild Theatre. The Kinokuniya brand will be in the windows, and you will see the books, and you will see a little bit on the signage but it’s still going to have the experience of the theater. Walking in will be a unique experience because it is not obvious from the outside what the inside is going to be. So it will be a journey as you move through the space. Jena did an amazing job creating the mezzanine as if it is its own world and also the café has a truly unique aesthetic. As you travel through, each experience is a little bit different from the last.

Q: What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been the mezzanine. We knew we needed the mezzanine because not using the full volume of the space seemed like a big waste… but we couldn’t support any of it with the existing walls. It had to be, basically, a free floating element. There are seismic joints between everything new and everything existing, so it is a somewhat free standing structure. Getting the design aesthetic that we wanted but still having it actually stand up, was really challenging. Especially integrating the stepped seating and the wide café opening was quite a challenge for our structural engineer.

Q: What are your favorite aspects?


Jena: Datum lines
My favorite part of the design is the datum lines. The entire concept was to create a line of sight throughout the space at different heights. When you look around the space, all the wood stops at a specific height, all of the white stops at a specific height and all over the openings and door heights align. It is very precise and creates a sophisticated and beautiful design.

Victoria: Step Seating
My favorite part is the step seating because I love how it ties the café to the rest of the space. It makes it very inclusive right there. It could be a great community space as well. Not only people who just want to shop books, but also those who come to learn more, meet the authors- anything along those lines. I think it will be a great space.

Q: Any Messages
Don’t be in a hurry: come with plenty of time to spend, because it is going be a whole exploration and you will want to be there for a while! Have a cup of tea, buy a lot of books!

Jena: Have fun, it is a bookstore! The café makes a fantastic Matcha!

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