The transformation of the Art Deco behemoth at 1355 Market, the old San Francisco Furniture Mart now more commonly known as the Twitter Building, has been a long time coming. Though Twitter moved into the Shorenstein-owned property in June 2012, the shell renovation was still very much under way. RMW Architecture & Interiors and BCV Architects brought new life to the building's excellent architectural bones, sandblasting concrete columns and redoing much of the ground floor with Douglas fir panels reclaimed from another part of the complex. But for the past year or so, much of that ground floor has remained empty—save for the comings and goings of Twitter employees and Shorenstein's other office tenants—awaiting the arrival of the building's public components. Today, a new food market with a storefront café and several restaurant and retail stalls opened in the building's ground floor.
Dubbed the Market, it's the first of a series of Market-branded groceries from retail architects–turned–gourmand shopkeepers Bruce Slesinger and Tom Collom (a.k.a., Bruce and Tom, or BAT) and parters Richard Hoff and Chris Foley. The next shop, Market on Polk, will open in the old Big Apple grocery store later this year, and a third will open on the ground floor of Lumina under the moniker Market on Main.
With in-house stations like a pizzeria, an oyster bar, and a tapas bar—with subtenants including Azalina's Malaysian food, Blue Bottle, and Nuubia chocolate—plus a storefront café slinging Four Barrel coffee, the vibe is a bit like a Whole Foods populated by local purveyors, with boutique retail scattered around the perimeter in mini-outposts somewhat reminiscent of Ferry Building stalls. Our sister site Eater has the full report on the culinary offerings, by the way.
With 1355 Market's full retail program still taking shape—a restaurant from the AQ folk is going in on the Ninth Street side—the Market offers an early glimpse at how the public portions of the mixed-use complex are shaping up. Design-wise, the grocery takes a page from restaurants rather than your run-of-the-mill Safeway. "It's not so common to do a food store and do something architecturally interesting with it," says Slesinger. "Restaurants, yes, but not in retail food." The architects were inspired by RMW and BCV's work on the lobby, and their design mixes in lots of wood and shows off the concrete columns. "When we first came through here, we noticed the double-height space and how they expressed bones of the building," says Collom. "It was the intent to bring that feeling into the Market space."
Plus, there will be seating outside; the back of the Market opens up onto Stevenson Commons, the CMG Landscape Architecture-designed alley-turned-pedestrian park.