Rock the Casa

cute stuff, fresh ideas, and style inspirations on the daily

Limited-Edition Boutiques: Merci Gap and Areaware Design to Go

Posted by Beth on September 16, 2009

I’m not sure who pioneered the “pop-up shop” trend, but I think it’s a genius idea—a store that’s open for just a few weeks creates that limited-time-only urgency that gets people in the mood to spend. While I’ve been on a self-imposed shopping ban, I couldn’t resist heading to midtown yesterday to check out two such stores (all in the name of research, of course): Merci Gap and Areaware’s Design to Go.

Merci Gap, 5th Avenue and 54th Street

Merci Gap, 5th Avenue and 54th Street

Merci Gap opened at the end of last week, right next door to the Gap’s flagship. The ubiquitous retailer partnered with Merci, a fashion and home design boutique in Paris’ Marais district, to bring a taste of the store to American shores. Inside this super-chic shop is a mix of vintage and modern accessories, clothing, and housewares. There’s no utilitarian vibe here; the only hint that Gap is involved are a few T-shirts on a table and a selection of jeans, customized by artist Laurence Amelie, hanging on the wall. Like the original Merci, all profits will go to charity.

This adorable mural covers one wall of the shop.

This adorable mural covers one wall of the shop.


Above: A selection of items for sale, including Droog wall straps in several colors ($25), candy-colored bamboo plates (6/$25 to $35), notebooks and journals ($7 and up), heavy white porcelain plates with pewter rims ($69 and up), and a collection of hand-blown glass items. You’ll also find extra-large linen shopping bags ($39) and linen tablecloths ($129) in gorgeous, muted shades, black rubber vases ($25 to $35), sturdy bistro wine glasses ($6 each), and Annick Goutal candles—her perfumes will be in stock later this week. Some items incorporated into the store’s displays are also for sale, including chairs, shelving units, and some very cool pendant lights made from recycled glass ($125 each). The friendly saleswoman couldn’t resist telling me that Kelly Klein had just been in to scoop up a few of them. Merci Gap will be open through October 4.

Areaware Design to Go, on 8th Avenue and 41st Street

Areaware Design to Go, on 8th Avenue and 41st Street

I trekked west through hordes of commuters to get a peek inside this shop, located in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, before it closes its doors. (It opened last month, and closes September 26.) Areaware, known for its edgy housewares and accessories from a number of young designers, created this travel supply-meets-souvenir shop with the goal of promoting both local designers and alternative transportation. Inside, it felt temporary: most items were simply displayed on tables supported by sawhorses. While there were travel journals, folding bikes by Strida ($700 and up), a few pieces of carry-on luggage, and Oboe headphones (good for tuning out obnoxious seatmates), not much else fit the travel theme. Most items were from Areaware’s own inventory, but there were also pieces from Kiosk in Soho and The Future Perfect in Williamsburg. Here are a few of my favorites:

Droop Light, $180

Droop Light, $180

Silicone Key Keychain, $19

Silicone Key Keychain, $19

Bank in the Form of a Pig, $190; Grans Candlestick, $45 each

Bank in the Form of a Pig, $190; Grans Candlesticks, $45 each

Elephant Pico, $24

Elephant Pico pillow, $24

"Seconds" Dessert Plates, 4/$90

"Seconds" Dessert Plates, 4/$90


One Response to “Limited-Edition Boutiques: Merci Gap and Areaware Design to Go”

  1. Kendra said

    I love this! and it makes me miss NYC!!!

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