Long Island City, NY

Blue Streak Wines and Spirits is the first project of owner and entrepreneur Stephen Spiller and designer and builder William E. Gati, AIA. The goal was to create an oasis-like gallery, wine tasting, and sales space. Rockrose Development leased roughly 1,000 square feet of raw first-floor retail space in their new high- rise rental residential building designed by Architectonica in LIC, Queens. We used Vincent Liotta as the mechanical, electrical and sprinkler engineer. Architectonica designed the apartment building and the shell and we designed the interior space. Rockrose Development and Stephen Spiller served as clients.

The space we designed has very high ceilings, three large windows, great street frontage, clean rectangular shape, and good eastern exposure. A central column, mechanical equipment, plumbing dropped down from the ceiling and restrictions on exterior elevations created a challenge. We chose a minimalist, low budget, high-end style that looks and feels like a SoHo gallery. Since the space is a wine and spirit store that includes an art gallery, the lighting had to illuminate both the art on the walls and the wine, while at the same time giving a theatrical feel to the space. The floating effect of the wine displays was accentuated with the help of an innovative wire-rack system permitting wine bottle to “float” horizontally against the wall.

The wine bottle display system was innovative; it was bolted to a plywood sub-strata and sheet-rock. We “field tested” the strength of the racks by hanging from them ourselves; the system held our weight, so we felt comfortable filling up the racks with expensive, unique wines from all over the world. Once the space was completed, the challenge was to layout the floor displays in a way that allowed ease of movement and marketability.

The floating wine displays, the open feel created by the windows, and the intentionally minimalist style created a space that is at once both exciting and peaceful and that serves the intended purpose quite well.

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