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Spaces The Essentials

Spaces: Retail Design Collaborative Transforms Vacant Department Store Into Creative Workspace

EL Johnson Mar 15

With the internet and e-commerce giants like Amazon having its way with traditional retail, large department stores are bearing the brunt of the damage. Just recently Toys R Us announced that it is closing all 800 of its U.S. stores and going out of business. What becomes of these places once the buildings go? Some get demolished and turned into something new, while others find new life, like the old Nordstrom Rack in Long Beach Ca that was transformed into a beautiful creative workspace by Retail Design Collaborative.

Retail Design Collaborative is a full-service architectural firm dedicated to making everyday places extraordinary and celebrating the retail realm as one of the focal points of human interaction. So it’s of no surprise that they created a dope space for their company to operate out of.

They recently reimagined the vacant Nordstrom Rack in Long Beach, California, into the RDC-S111 Urban Office, a creative workspace that also performs as a hub for community engagement.


The vacant space features 34,100 square feet and they set out to design the empty department store and create an “Urban Gallery,” a flexible and evolving workshop.


The layout allows the companies to work together within a large, open space, but also offers three raised sections for smaller gathering spots and private meetings.

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The custom furniture is easily reconfigurable and there are drawing surfaces and adjustable height desks for maximum creativity and comfort.


The primary gathering spaces are laid out near the windows so they face the streets, allowing a connection with the people passing by.

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via Design Milk

What do you think of this space? Would you love to work and create here?

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EL Johnson

Creative Problem Solver, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Billion Or Bust Media