Part café, part boutique, and part showroom, The Shop is a venue that defies categorization. At the beating heart of the “radical hospitality” concept that inspired this utterly unique, experimental weekday space is a love for Seattle, a passion for the local design community, and a belief that design can create both experience and connection. While intended to engage and attract Seattle designers and other commercial real estate professionals, the 3,760-square-foot space – especially the café – has become a unique and unexpected oasis for the downtown Seattle community to connect, imbibe, shop, and refresh during the day.

Project team

Architect: Graham Baba Architects
Owner/Client: Porter
Owner’s Representative: Splice
General Contractor: MRJ Constructors
Structural Engineer: ROICH Structural
Environmental Art: House of Sorcer
Acoustic Consultant: SSA Acoustics, LLP
Kitchen Equipment Consultant: CMA Restaurant Supply & Design, Inc.
Custom Metal Fabrication: Out of Round Design
Casework: Creoworks
Photographer: Kevin Scott

The Shop by Porter by Graham Baba Architects - Sheet2
©Kevin Scott

The Shop has become a source of inspiration for many of Porter’s clients as they navigate the incorporation of hospitality into their strategies for recruiting and retaining employees returning to work. Functioning as a practical testing ground for pandemic and post-pandemic work settings, this “lab” offers valuable insights to clients. It also injects vitality into the process of specifying commercial furniture by seamlessly integrating it into a gracious retail/hospitality environment. Here, clients can both specify and purchase retail decor from a curated collection by BIPOC makers.

Comprising two intersecting spaces with a thirty-inch elevation change between two entrances, The Shop features an elevated wood platform at their intersection. This platform houses the design lab and retail lounge, serving as a central focal point for speakers. Nestled in the heart of the space, the lab functions as a room-within-a-room with operable partitions, allowing for enclosed working sessions or open connections to the larger space. North of the lab, the platform gently descends to the main level, flanked by custom-built ash shelving that provides a framework for shoppable small wares.

The Shop by Porter by Graham Baba Architects - Sheet3
©Kevin Scott

The storefront showcases deep-treaded stairs with a soft radius, creating a gradual transition between the elevated platform and the retail lounge below. On the main level, a gracefully curved milestone and quartz counter seamlessly transitions from café to bar. Three private meeting rooms, adorned in rich hues and featuring glass partitions, are discreetly tucked against the east wall, providing quiet co-working spaces.

In collaboration with the design team, Seattle-based creative firm House of Sorcery contributed multiple custom installations with subtle local references. Notable examples include a large-scale gold mirror installation behind the bar with a stylized ‘Welcome As You Are’ and custom rice paper wall covering at the entry.

©Kevin Scott

The primary objective is to allow the products, furniture, and decor to take center stage, resulting in a simple and restrained material palette. The light-colored ash wood used throughout The Shop exudes a playful personality through its varied grain. Metal surfaces are intentionally painted to lighten their impact in the space, ensuring the focus remains on the showcased products.

Graham Baba Architects project team
Jim Graham
Lauren Strang
Taehyung Kim

Porter project team
Kathleen Selke
Kyle Haakenson
Amy Atkins
Mia Wiggin


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