Office Envy: Kickernick Building

Tasked with updating the common areas of the historic building in the heart of the Warehouse District, Studio BV went back in time for modern inspiration.

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    Think about how people will move through a space, Studio BV’s Betsy Vohs says. The new, more open layout allows employees some privacy and avoids congestion.

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    The back wall includes a custom raincoat design pattern, an homage to raincoat manufacturer Mackinaw Coat, which was once housed in the building.

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    Vohs says they wanted to use an open concept to allow people space to work, take phone calls and have some privacy. It includes spaces that tenants can meet and work in.

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    Vohs described the space as warm, modern and industrial. Studio BV shied away from using metals, with the intention of making the space brighter.

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    Lobbies “set the tone for the talent companies would like to hire,” Vohs says. Gone are the days of lobbies as empty spaces. The modern office lobby is an area that “mingles with tenants.”

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    Studio BV commissioned art from local female artists for the space.

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    Studio BV tried to use materials that would salute the building’s manufacturing roots, including leather straps, fabric and metal work.

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    The designer wanted to bring a more modern feel, while keeping the building foundations intact.

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    Vohs said they had to “strip away to find the beauty in the building.”

  • Project: Kickernick Building
    Location: 430 First Ave. N., Minneapolis
    Size: 140,000 square feet
    Owner: United Properties
    Designer: Studio BV

    Photos by Corey Gaffer Photography 

    A lobby sets the tone for the entire building. Tasked with updating the common areas of the historic Kickernick Building in the heart of the Warehouse District, Studio BV went back in time for modern inspiration. The 1896 building, originally home to the North Star Boot & Shoe Co., gets its name from a later tenant, the Kickernick lingerie company. “We wanted to bring back in elements of craft and making, using leather, fabric, metalwork, and custom features that go back to that inspiration,” says Betsy Vohs, founder and CEO of Studio BV. The Minneapolis design firm was hired by United Properties, which purchased the distinctive brick building from Sherman Group in 2017 for $19.2 million. Kickernick is home to creative agencies Haberman and Hanley Wood; Brothers Bar and a coffee shop lease street-level spaces. Currently, 23,000 square feet is available for rent. Custom features in the lobby include a woven leather screen and felt panels. “Our intent was to make it as bright, warm, and soft as we could,” Vohs says. “We wanted it to feel very bright.”

    —Ellen Schneider