Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris

Local Aesthetic / Portland, Oregon / Part One

In part one of our design travel guide for the City of Roses, we showcase a quartet of storefronts and galleries where homegrown creative talent flourishes.

Article By Patrick Sisson, September 26, 2013

Hipster clichés and comedy catch phrases aside (“it’s the city where young people go to retire”) Portland’s per capita cultural output rivals any city twice or three times its size. A comprehensive guide to any number of topics—food trucks, beer, or music—would have to contain multitudes to comprehensively cover all the creative activity in neighborhoods like North Mississippi and Alberta Street.

In the last decade, the city’s design scene has become just as prolific, covering everything from interactive and web work to furniture and product design. As a result of left-of-center thinking and unusually collaborative culture, brands and designers like Shwood, Phloem Studios, Danner, and Bridge & Burn have blossomed.

We consulted a half-dozen local designers to help put together a list of stores, galleries, and venues that provide a sense of what makes Portland unique. Here's the first installment in our insider's design guide to Portland—look for more additions soon.

Beam & Anchor

2710 N Interstate / 503.367.3230 / beamandanchor.com 

This sleek converted warehouse, husband-and-wife-team Robert and Jocelyn Rahm's vertically integrated design mecca, houses designers a floor above a tightly curated retail space showcasing their work.

"Beam & Anchor offers the quintessential Portland perspective on how design can be woven through every aspect of life. Not only does the store sell all types of homewares designed by locals, directly above the store are many of the makers that are featured in the shop. Merely a few blocks away is Lowell, which is another great store filled with a tightly curated selection of goods." –Jason Sturgill, artist, designer, and educator 

"They are pickers extraordinare—experience their wonderfully curated experience through beautiful products." –Mark Rawlins, freelance creative director



Ampersand Vintage

2916 NE Alberta St / 503.805.5458 / ampersandvintage.com

Bibliophiles will salivate upon entering this reverential center for prints and printing, with extensive and eclectic displays of photo and art books. 
"Ampersand is a bookstore that sets itself apart in the land of books aplenty. After you've become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books at Powell's, head over to Myles Haselhorst's shop, where he will give you personal attention and guide you through his treasure trove of art and design tomes. Next door, you'll be pleased to find Cord, run by Myles' wife Carey, which is more object focused but with the same attention in selection and service." —Jason Sturgill
Land Gallery
3925 N Mississippi Ave / 503.451.0689 / landpdx.com
The brick-and-mortar manifestation of the locally oriented site www.buyolympia.com, this gallery/retail space curates an eclectic collection of Portland goods, providing a cheap way to take a bit of Cascadia home.
"An art gallery and shop that features a great collection of local illustrators, authors, designers, and artists. Really good for T-shirts, cards, books, and unique Portland-flavored souvenirs." —Lizy Gershenzon, Partner at Scribble Tone
811 E Burnside / 503.477.9786 /nationale.us
Highly recommended by local designers, Nationale, a shop and arts center opened by French expat May Juliette Barruel, has transceded its retail origins to become a hub for visual culture. This fall, the gallery will feature a photo exhibit from Delaney Allen through October 27, a solo show from painter Jaik Faulk opening November 1st, and a holiday arts retrospective.
Keep your eyes on Nothing Major Features for future installments of our Portland design guide.