Patronik Designs Jewelry Gallery
Owners: Nick and Christine Kosturos
Year founded: 1978
Opened featured location: 1996
Designers: Joel Miroglio of Miroglio Architecture + Design
Total store area: 1,350 square feet
Number of employees: 3
Patronik Designs Jewelry Gallery in Burlingame, CA, had a Phoenix-like rebirth following total devastation by a fire in 2000. Owners Nick and Christine Kosturos found a way to parlay what could’ve been an extinction-level event into a work-in-progress theme that is reflected in the design of the store and the materials used to create it, as well as Nick’s on-site workshop. The Kosturoses embrace and celebrate the uniqueness, small size, and mystery of their store. – Judy Truesdell
5 Cool Things:
1. There’s a feel to Patronik that calls to mind ancient catacombs and their secrets. Though a "reliquary" wall is sprinkled with niches that showcase compelling jewelry pieces rather than true relics or saintly remains, the wall leans in, reminiscent of a cave wall, and features custom display fixtures within its recesses. Customers report finding new areas to explore each time they visit, and the store’s deep, narrow design has been successful in pulling customers toward the merchandise. Featured prominently and visible through the storefront is an actual "relic"; the single hand-blown glass wall sconce that survived the fire.
Creating a "prequel"
2. Architect Joel Miroglio calls his design a "prequel" to the former location. The previous store was half the size, and the reliquary wall was on one side. Following the fire, Kosturos secured a location that was twice as wide, and the architect maintained the elements of the previous design by moving the wall to the middle. "This made the new store like what the previous store would have been before it was ‘cut in half’ – a ‘prequel’ to the old store," Miroglio said.
3. The store is wrapped in a contemporary industrial workshop cloak, underlining the "in-the-making" theme. Precious metals, copper and stainless steel were used to construct the corbels at the top of the storefront and the awning; some corbels appear to be missing. The intent was to suggest that the fa?ade was under construction, just like the jewelry within. The design celebrates the jewelry and the art of jewelry making, all in an environment crafted from the raw material from which the jewelry is made.
A jewelry "factory" motif
4. Patronik does a lot of custom design with unusual shapes and stones, and the store is designed to showcase it in the manner of a contemporary art gallery. Nick’s workshop, with a viewing window, is located in the rear of the store. Miroglio says he was going for a "jewelry factory" motif for the studio; this is carried out with copper, stainless steel rivets, and corrugated metal, for an industrial feel. "If you look closely," he said, "you will also see two ‘smokestacks’ on the ‘jewelry factory.’" "The one constant that ties the gallery together is the jewelry itself," Patronik says. "It springs forth from the workshop, marching toward the front of the store on copper pedestals on each side of the space."
5. One of the post-fire Christmases, Nicholas and Christine lacked a location for their annual holiday bash. They rented the historic penthouse at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and flooded the 6,500-square-foot venue with cases of their most exquisite jewelry; customers were treated to cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music and a "breathtaking view of the skyline of San Francisco," Nick remembers. And they sold a lot of jewelry.
Although it was the fire that forced the Kosturoses to meet their customers’ needs by making "house calls" – meeting them in local restaurants, coffee houses or parking lots – there was an interesting side effect. "When the store reopened in 2003, not only did we retain our original customers, but we had an additional following due to the word-of-mouth stories of our unique customer service," Nick said.
A personal history
ORIGINS: For 31 years, the Kosturoses operated out of a 200-square-foot shop in San Francisco that had been made on the ground floor of an apartment-building garage. Their landlord saw the garage as wasted retail space in a prime location, so he converted it into storefronts. Reminiscent of European jewelry shops the Kosturoses had visited, their store was "quaint and cute," Nick says, and shoppers found it intriguing and enjoyed the personal touch, distinguishing it from the more volume-oriented jewelry stores.