‘Totokaelo’ Opens Jumbo Pop-Up Space this Friday at 190 Bowery
There is major activity happening inside the ground level of the Germania Bank Building on the Bowery. Final preparations are underway to transform this massive space into a temporary fashion emporium.
As previously reported, the owner of 190 Bowery, Aby Rosen, signed an abbreviated lease over the summer with Totokaelo to take 8,918 square-feet. It officially opens to the public on Friday.
The sprawling store won’t be here for long, though, with a stated expiration of March 2018.
Totokaelo was founded in Seattle in 2008, and peddles designer lines including Acne Studios, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, and Proenza Schouler. The brand also has a location in nearby SoHo at 54 Crosby Street.
The New York Times had more yesterday:
The first floor is high-ceilinged and airy. Echoes of the bank lobby that occupied it more than a century ago are still there: The walls are a marble the color of desert dust, and uneven mosaic tiles line the floor. Polished wood panels cover the rest of the floor, remnants of a basketball court that Mr. Maisel installed.
Head to the basement and you will pass an elongated cage with a square-shaped swinging door. Its purpose is a mystery. The downstairs is darker, more stark — a cross between a dungeon and an asylum out of a B-horror flick. “Down here you’ll find things a bit more raw and broken,” Ms. Schley said.
A large bank vault with a four-door layer of protection and a cage around it dominates the space. Inside, shoes are displayed on metal shelves that attach magnetically to the walls.
Rosen’s RFR Realty purchased the landmark Germania Bank Building from photographer Jay Maisel three years ago for $55 million. Until now, the Great Bowery – a consortium of creative agencies – had been the only commercial occupant in the building.
Importing Totokaelo to 190 Bowery is seemingly a stop-gap measure in the absence of a permanent occupant. RFR Realty still seeks a commercial tenant willing to cough up the full $2 million per year for the retail space.