For the People Opens Dialog, a New Concept Store on Roosevelt Row
Inspired by everyday rituals and the items we use for them, the couple behind the modern design showroom For the People is bringing a new concept store, café and market to Roosevelt Row. This month, Shawn Silberblatt and Chad Campbell will open Dialog, which was designed by Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning architect Wendell Burnette. Inside the revitalized “Ten-O-One” building (at 1001 N. Central Ave.), Silberblatt and Campbell will curate stores within a store, anchored by Taschen Books, along with a coffee bar, café and market.
“We really want this to be a community space,” Silberblatt says.
We toured Dialog with Silberblatt and found out what drove the concept, its design and more.
What is the concept of Dialog?
“We’ll be focusing on everyday carry and everyday ritual goods, especially to fit with this neighborhood and what’s happening on Roosevelt Row. It’ll be a really forward-thinking concept design store, but you will also be able to purchase things that can improve the quality of your everyday life, whether it’s wallets and bags or cookware, and the market will play into that as well.
“The ‘concept store’ term to me really means we’re having fun with it. It could be a couple people that we’re partnering with at that time doing a shop within a shop—that could be for a month, 10 years or anything in between.”
What can people expect inside?
“Starting with the coffee bar, it’s single-origin coffees, concentrating on quality and flavor of the actual coffee. The coffee program will be elevated, a lot like what we do at Kream. What we really focus on with the coffee program is, it’s not just coffee, it’s not just about the flavorings you put in coffee. It’s about the origins of the beans, celebrating the actual original bean itself, which comes from the farmer and the roaster, and we’re that final stage, which they call third-wave coffee.
“Here, since we have a larger operation, we’ll be able to showcase a few more origins. We’re going to be adding an extended pastry and food options (from Ollie Vaughn’s and Conceptually Social).
“On one half of the wall it will be a full market. We’ll have anything from a grab-and-go lunch to building a charcuterie board, bottled drinks, preserves, pickled items, chips, snacks, even chocolates and candies…curating it the way we’ve always curated For the People, looking for things that are just a little different out there.
“The rest of it will all be retail. One portion of it will be a bookstore. We’re partnering with Taschen Books, and it will be an actual Taschen library in Phoenix, which almost stands alone as a slightly smaller version of one of their design stores.
“One of the things we will be showcasing is a lot of the Japanese stationary we do at the other store. We’ll have a whole standalone Japanese stationary store inside.
Building community is a big part of what drives you at For the People—how else is that show up in this project?
“There also will be a small gallery space, which will showcase Arizona-based artists.
“We really want it to be a community space in the evening as well, really open the space up.
We really want this to speak to the neighborhood, the street, the community, whether it’s through performance art, exhibitions or lectures. For us, that’s our gift back to this community.”
For the People is located in a building shared with Wendell Burnette—what made him the right architect to partner with on this project?
“If it wasn’t for Wendell and our builder, Hayes McNeil, I don’t think I could have done this. Wendell is an amazing architect. He’s very talented, and he’s just in a league of his own. For him to say, yes, we’ll do this, that’s really awesome.
“It’s been a dream come true to stare at the iconic library (the Burton Barr Central Library, visible from Dialog) he was also responsible for designing. That’s always been one of my favorite buildings, even before I knew Wendell, that building was really special. For us to be staring at it and with one of the architect’s that’s responsible for a lot of the details in that building to now be the one designing my retail store is incredibly awesome.”
How did you all work with Wendell to blend your aesthetics?
“It was a fairly organic process. Coming down to the space and just spending some time here when it was raw before construction and just sitting with it, asking ourselves where does the flow need to be, want to be, and it just came together. That was the easiest process in the world because I trust him, and he is amazing.”
Tell me about the space – what’s your vision for it?
“We intentionally left it very clean and simple. There’s always been an underlying Japanese inspiration to the space. Wendell used it a little bit in the design—very simple moves executed in a very thoughtful way. So, the floor being one monolith surface—it’s just white, no seams, no tiles, no patterns—it’s just a white floor polished to look like wet milk. The coffee bar is meant to look like an abstracted coffee cup. It has a little bit of an angle on it, but it’s like a modern coffee cup sitting in the middle of a milk floor. That was one of the inspirations for the space.
“The color celadon, a Japanese hue used on a lot of ancient pottery that picks up on the color of nature and the sky, was used on the ceilings and a lot of the space. It’s almost white, but it’s not. The color’s there but it’s not in-your-face. It’s very subtle. Some of the details in the space let the product really shine through. The space itself almost disappears. It’s very simply done. The coffee bar is probably the most striking thing because it’s black in an otherwise white room. It’s very modern—it almost looks like a spaceship—but it’s also timeless.”
Why this building?
“It was a mirrored office building that shunned the outside world, but this building is opened up. That was always in the back of our head for designing this space, and that’s also why we’re keeping all four entrances. It really just invites the community to come in and meander through. Here, we just want to be a place of exploration. Keeping all of those entrances, to us, was really important to make it permeable.”
Why Roosevelt Row?
“It’s always been on our mind. Chad and I have both lived in Central Phoenix for many, many years—we still do; this is our neighborhood. Retail is really important to a dynamic city. We have a lot of bars, restaurants, breweries and condos now. We will add a different element, trying to add dynamics to Roosevelt Row.”
What are your favorite carry and ritual items?
“One of my personal favorites would be one of our pens that we carry. It’s a Horizon pen. It’s an everyday pen, but every time I pick it up and use it, I get enjoyment because it’s made a little bit differently. There’s that little detail or quality, and I love carrying products like that.
“Our Japanese Tenen Studio incense that we carry is another example. You add it into the ritual of your day, and it can set the tone and change your mood in a very positive way. Another one would be some really beautiful cookware.
“Sometimes that one thing that you hold or use every day has that extra layer. There’s something about it that makes you feel good. It’s not just a utilitarian object. You form a relationship with it, in a way.
For Chad and I, after curating for seven years now, we get to really learn what people connect with and what they don’t. That’s always in the back of our heads for the curation of Dialog. Whether it’s the coffee you’re drinking, a little bite to eat, something from the market or some objects you use every day, it’s about giving people an amazing experience.
“Another is creating a store that is really modern, it’s really forward-thinking, but a lot of things we sell are going to be very tactile—old-school art supplies, pens, paper, books, things you can still hold in your hands—because as wonderful as technology is, I really still believe in concentrating on tactile things that are made by people.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and space.