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Lyndon Chair and Table, Aleiya Olu | Photography by Neal Reiter | Courtesy Walker Art Center

Idea House 3’s signature orange neon sign glows in the windows of the Walker Art Center’s Hennepin Avenue storefront, inviting curious eyes inside to explore its groundbreaking new shopping experience. From original furniture and whimsical lighting to graphic tableware and bold books, the collectible design store offers one-of-a-kind pieces by more than 50 emerging and established designers. But, this isn’t your average museum shop. This immersive retail platform celebrates idea-driven design and aims to infuse inspiration into everyday life.

Continuing the Walker Art Center’s 80-year history of celebrating bold design, the new store trades the traditional gift shop concept for a curator-led shopping experience that connects art and community. Led by the museum’s Head of Design, Content and Communications Asli Altay and Director of Business Development Felice Clark, the collection’s stunningly unique pieces were handpicked to showcase the latest in design innovation from local and international talents.

Shopping at Idea House 3, 2023 | Photography by Kameron Herndon | Courtesy Walker Art Center

Idea House 3 debunks the notion that design thought leadership occurs largely in cities on the East and West Coasts with a spotlight on the cutting-edge work produced by artists in the Midwest. Curated by Design Miami Curatorial Director Wava Carpenter, the first iteration of the rotating Guest Room series, Midwest Design Here & Now, highlights the region’s fresh perspectives and diversity of styles. Stunners like Ayako Arantani’s Ghost Garden Two-Tiered Table or Jonathan Muecke’s Carbon Tube Chair prove just how exciting art informed by the Midwest can be.

Many of the limited-edition pieces, like the Lyndon Table by Aleiya Olu, are exclusive to Idea House 3 and are truly one-of-a-kind. Ceramicists Mitch Iburg and Zoë Powell add an original touch to their work by sourcing their materials locally, foraging clay and minerals near their St. Paul studio. Michigan-based designer Seth Keller crafted his Throne for Nordic Queen Chair from a fallen tree found in St. Paul. These unique practices add a deeper connection to the creator and environment while reinforcing sustainability — a tenet of the shop.

Throne for Nordic Queen Chair, Seth Keller | Photography by Neal Reiter | Courtesy Walker Art Center

Idea House 3’s museum-level presentation is what really sets the retail platform apart from run-of-the-mill shops. Designed by the Zak Group, the store is staged as the rooms of a house to inspire visitors to envision how they might live with these objects in their own home. Fans of the Walker’s “book wall” will be delighted to know that the beloved shoppable library has returned. The modular space will also host robust cultural programming, including conversations with artists, curators and other innovators. It’s safe to say that Minneapolis’s newest design hot spot offers endless inspiration.

Idea House 3 is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. Shop in-store during gallery hours or explore the collection online. Private shopping available by appointment

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