DESIGN: Gyro's New Philly Digs

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I'd Walk a Mile for my Wallpaper
I'd Walk a Mile for my Wallpaper
Gyro Worldwide has moved to a new Philadelphia headquarters at 13th and Sansom, which boasts some really smokin' interior design — particularly the lobby's custom wallpaper, designed by local studio Print Liberation ( The wallpaper features "portraits of all the famous people in history who have profited by growing tobacco," explains Gyro founder/CEO Steven Grasse. The list includes Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, General William Tecumseh Sherman and Al Gore, whose "family's fortune was made by growing tobacco — how's that for an inconvenient truth!" quips Grasse, a nonsmoker. "Tobacco isn't just a product category that we work on; it symbolizes liberty and freedom for us," he adds. Moreover, he notes, "Tobacco is a very important part of our country's history. America was founded on tobacco; the American Revolution was funded by tobacco."

The interior work was handled by Grasse's wife, interior designer Sonia Kurtz-Grasse, whose brief, says Grasse, "was to capture Gyro's eclectic mix of modern creativity and neo-traditionalism," intended to reflect what he calls Gyro's "weird dual personality," which brings a modern approach to brands often steeped in history — brands like Camel cigarettes. Note in the PDF the way-cool Shepard Fairey portraits of Noam Chomsky and Joe Strummer, as well as a more traditional pair of paintings, the latter picked up at a flea market for $10 each. The new space also makes room for the Gyro house brand, Sailor Jerry, which sells rum, clothing and housewares in what Grasse calls a "retail lab" on the first floor. The store was designed by Philly-based artist/photographer Adam Wallacavage with a "vintage South Seas feel," says Grasse, to reflect the WWII-era tattoo pioneer Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins' U.S. Navy vibe, replete with a pair of Wallacavage's custom octopus chandeliers. (Click here for more on that.)

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