Design Merchants Study Tour: Seattle

Ok, so to start with let me just say I really loved Seattle! It didn’t hurt that the weather was amazing and we were staying near the water by the Pike Place Markets, which were a definite highlight. The area surrounding it was also full of great bars, shops and cool alleyways that I also loved.

To start the Seattle leg, as it was a Sunday, we had a few fun excursions. This included a tour of Boeing, that was mind blowing, and a visit to a premium shopping outlet. I think it has to be a record for some of the fastest shopping I have ever seen by many in the group!

A highlight of that day was a visit to the REI flagship store. This is an outdoor/ camping/ adventure store on steroids! They excelled in creating interactive areas for customers to try out their products such as a rock-climbing wall and a climbing slope to try out your hiking boots. Although the inside was very strongly merchandised it was the entry before you got to the front door that blew me away. It was a lush forest setting in the middle of Seattle where you walked through areas that customers were encouraged to ride their bikes through or walk around before you got to the shop level.

We had some really interesting conferencing sessions including presentations by Nordstrom Labs, Hointner and Costco. A highlight of these were several sessions at Microsoft, including at their HQ where we had a fascinating tour of their Envisioning Centre. This was Microsoft looking into how we might be living and working with technology in years to come. Even on a purely interior design level it was stunning.

Of course there was also time to check out many of the shops in the CBD area where there was some great VM and stops for refreshments (see ginger beer photo below). I will definitely put Seattle on my list of places to go back to, really chilled out but fun and vibrant. Next stop Stockholm!!

Seattle Public Market
Pike Place Markets

Seattle Pike Place Fish Co
Pike Place Fish Co. (Where they throw the fish)

Seattle University Village
University Village

Seattle Room & Board
Room & Board, University Village

Seattle REI

Seattle REI sign
REI, one of the signs in the area in front of the store.

Seattle REI climbing slope
REI, climbing slope to test grip on hiking boots.

Seattle Microsoft
Microsoft Store

Seattle Rachel's Ginger Beer
Rachel’s Ginger Beer