Islyn Studio refreshes mid-century lumber warehouse in Albuquerque with local crafts and creates unique food hall
Sawmill Market is New Mexico’s first food hall, culinary laboratory and homage to the cultural imagination of New Mexico. Owner Jim Long (Heritage Hotels and Resorts) and F&B Concept Developers Lauren and Jason Greene (The Grove Cafe) teamed up with Islyn Studio to create this unique space.
“Using the mid-century lumber warehouse as an architectural foundation, we eschewed the conventional notions of New Mexican design to opt instead for a deeper, more story-driven approach that roots the guest in place and allows their experience to animate the design. Nods to the site’s past — patina’ed metals, peg boards, the original dust collectors, steel eye beams, historic rail tracks and burnished wood — mingle alongside softer, more sensory touches including natural plays of shadow and light and imperfect painterly strokes of color. In architecting the layout of the space, we were inspired by the flexible functionality and wise use of space of the traditional Navajo trading posts and employed similar way-finding structures throughout. Reclaimed timber from the original warehouse demolition and poured concrete comprise the flooring and custom furniture and fixtures. Among the historic materials, we weaved in storied elements of heritage and indigenous craft: handmade natural tiles, saddle leather and earthy and organic layers that serve as both an homage — and, given the industrial architecture, a surprising subversion of — New Mexico’s signature adobe. Throughout, we feature the work of local artists, artisans and expert craftspeople and woodworkers, perpetuating the site’s tradition. The expansive outdoor terrace animates the street experience and serves as a communal dining and entertainment area for the market, a design decision that complements Sawmill’s commitment as a cultural and creative hub for communal events, movie screenings, picnics and co-working — an inclusive and flexible vessel for innovation, communion and aspiration. The stage was built from the original sawdust collector structure, furthering the studio’s commitment to adaptive re-use at every turn. Sawmill Market invites the world to view Albuquerque through fresh eyes, to experience a richness and ease of spirit, rare in today’s culinary culture. With its owner-operated outlets, Sawmill Market refreshes the entrepreneurial spirit of the mythical American West with a focus on new, localized voices,” explains Ashley Wilkins, founder of studio