Online store AHA Life opened its first physical location in the Brooklyn neighborhood and designer Samuel Amoia came along for the ride.
BY RACHEL SMALL
After six years online, AHA Life touched down in Dumbo, Brooklyn, earlier this summer with its first brick-and-mortar location, AHA Front. Housing a carefully selected inventory from the more than 4,000 luxury and artisanal design brands the company represents, “it’s a slice of everything we have,” says founder and CEO, Shauna Mei. “The idea is to have this experimental playground where we can do something totally different from traditional retail.” A physical store, of course, allows visitors to experience the richness of certain items whose subtleties are lost in digital representation. As such, New York furniture designer Samuel Amoia, who is best known for the eye-catching textures he creates using rocks, provided the ideal aesthetic for an exclusive collection, which launched in May. For the project, Amoia revisited his popular drums, which are essentially three- and four-foot high multipurpose cylinders that he casts with different combinations of rocks and colored plaster. Though New York clients, according to Amoia, generally gravitate toward black and white drums, he felt that, among the 10 pieces, some brighter tones would be appropriate. “They’re vibrant, but still relatively subdued,” he says. “I think, within the palette of the store—grayish floors, light wood framing, and rustic brick—it’s a nice energy.” The pieces are on display at the center of the space, and, Mei observes, visitors often assume they are too delicate to touch. “I think we’re going to experiment with placing some merchandise on them and see how people react,” she says. “They’re pretty sturdy,” adds Amoia. “People can play with them.”