Monday, November 16, 2009

Trip Report: Minneapolis

Gold Medal Mill Sign

A few weeks ago STUDY took a break from a city on the make in favor of spending some time in a city of lakes. Minneapolis is where one half of STUDY calls home, so in between catching up with friends and family, we had an chance to take in a few sites, capture a few pictures, and - lucky for you - even see a drag show or two.

Gay Nineties Bar Neon Sign
via Max Sparber

Unfortunately we didn't have a camera with us when visiting The Gay Nineties - a bar that's been around in one incarnation or another since the 1890s - but we're sure that if you're looking to write a design blog about a vaguely depressing/scary/exhilarating multi-level bar with quite the impressive drag show - then the Nineties is your place.

Most of our time was actually spent on the make for the perfect vintage/thrift find in one of Minneapolis and St. Paul's myriad retail establishments. STUDY isn't one to ignore the siren call of vintage stores in any city, but when coming from Chicago - where there's a thriving design community and consequently a plethora of picked over and overpriced antiques - the prospect of finding an unmolested shop in an out of the way corner of town is too much to resist.

Vintage Minneapolis Skyline Postcard
via Eridony

Sadly, Minneapolis offered much of the same as can be found in Chicago - high prices for (often) not very well cared for pieces - and confirmed a trend we've been seeing more and more of: consumers of vintage are more knowledgeable than ever before (good), there are more consumers of vintage than ever before (neutral) and shop keeps can charge increasingly exorbitant prices for shoddily restored and/or poorly taken care of goods (very, very bad).

One of the glowing exceptions to this rule is without a doubt Timelines Antiques.

Timelines Antiques Store Window>
Image used with permission - © 2009 by Sarah Rubens - All rights reserved

Image used with permission - © 2009 by Sarah Rubens - All rights reserved

Located at 420 Snelling Ave. in St. Paul, Timelines is by no means cheap, but we mean this in the best sense of the word. Prices here seem accurate in this finely curated antiques store with a "shop around the corner" feel. On this visit we saw Timelines expanding into nineteenth century European antiques, but there's still a nice balance of mid-century American pieces as well. This is definitely a do not miss when in the Twin Cities.

We wanted to end our scouting on a high note so STUDY let Timelines be our final retail destination of the weekend as we turned our attention to all things cultural.

via Chuckumentary

STUDY made the rounds through the Walker Art Museum's Sculpture Garden with intentions of communing with nature and art... but instead we took approximately 500 pictures of Claes Oldenburg's Spoonbridge and Cherry.

After the Walker we headed to one of Minneapolis' newest and most architecturally adventurous buildings - the Guthrie Theatre.

Situated on the shore of the Mississippi and next to the ruins of the Gold Medal Flour Mill, the Guthrie calls French architect Jean Nouvel's 2006 building home. This big blue beheamoth may seem imposing at first, but is refreshingly accessible thanks to an agreement with the city of Minneapolis, allowing patrons and passerby alike to roam freely.

But for all its fantastic use of space, the Gurthrie does employ one design trope that we can't stand for: It has a face.

Oh wait, didn't catch that? Here, let's come in closer...

Sure he's kind of cute, but he also looks like he might eat you. And he's got a raised eyebrow! Be on the lookout soon for a post about the dangers of designing a home with a face.

Our last stop was the ruins of the Gold Medal Flour mill at the Mill City Museum. This crumbling space was one of our favorite stops of the trip. Somehow they've managed to combine a museum, a riverwalk and condos in an unforced manner, all while preserving this "mill" city's roots.

via anaxila

And what trip to Minneapolis would be complete without a stop by the house where these lovelies lived?

Mary Tyler Moore Show Cast - Phyllis, Mary and Rhoda

That's right... we went there, although STUDY did feel a little conspicuous snapping tourist pics in this ultra-ritzy neighborhood where Mary Richard's "apartment" was located. Rumor has it that this went on market a few years ago and they destroyed the insides with a boatload of contemporary furniture. And they took the "M" off the wall.

For more of Sarah Rubens' photography and to purchase prints, please visit her at sara + h.