Stephany Eaton is the owner and principal designer of award-winning Twin Cities interior design firm PureAlchemy Design. In addition to garnering an incredible roster of clientele, Eaton developed a creative relationship with music icon Prince and the empire he left behind, Paisley Park. Here, she shares with us what it’s like to be a member of the Paisley Park family, how she approached reinventing the museum’s retail space and how she brought a slice of the Purple One’s legacy to Mall of America.
What has it been like to be a trusted designer in the Paisley Park family?
My first thought is that it is an honor. The term “family” is indeed the right one to use here, as it really is a collaboration of individuals who are all focused on the same thing: respectfully remembering and sharing the dynamic story of the talent of Prince. It is a balance of “what would Prince like to see here” and designing a platform to allow his iconic story to tell itself. When I hit a creative block or find myself needing some inspiration, I listen to one of his songs. His music reminds me that he was fearless in his willingness to try something new. I always try to let that shine through in whatever I’m designing on behalf of Paisley Park.
Where did you draw inspiration from when redesigning Paisley Park’s retail space?
For the reinvention of the retail space, my objective was to create a museum-type feel to allow all the Prince-ly treasures to take center stage. Like with any memorable place, the space had to allow for an experience and, in this case, to fuel the sense of attending or perhaps reawaken the memory of having attended a live Prince concert. Visually, the design includes a bit of a transition, drawing guests into a light and bright space that alters their perspective of the items they see before themselves.
There was also the intent of making every visit feel personal, the same way Prince’s music does. That’s why the previously unreleased mural image was incorporated into the space. When guests turn the corner, they are met with Prince’s signature gaze.
What was your process translating the iconic energy of Paisley Park into the Mall of America installation?
There is only one Paisley Park, and to bring that energy to an open mall space was a completely different challenge for me in many ways. There is always something happening at Paisley Park, like concerts, tours and artist recordings. That sense of activity and life was what I wanted to translate to the space at Mall of America. My goal was to create a dynamic and continually active retail venue that hosts an experiential mindset.
The true cornerstone of the space is the podcast lounge stage, which is designed to be the area to view concert footage, see live podcast interviews or even witness an occasional intimate performance. You can also see this multi-functional space on the Paisley Park live events page when revolving artifacts are being showcased and podcast interviews are being recorded. Also coming into the MOA space are Spotify engagement areas to connect guests with the evolution of Prince’s unmatched music range.
My favorite element of the space is the Purple Rain Experience, which provides a moment to just feel the energy of the superstar’s iconic song “Purple Rain.” The house lights dim while the stage lighting highlights the otherwise overlooked Paisley Park celestial emblems on the ceiling. Paisley Park is a magical place where music is crafted and abounds, and the space at MOA is a foreshadow of that magic.