The Bates College Store feels more like a place to hang out and meet up with friends than a bookstore. The cash counter was designed as if it were a café, modern wood cladding and warm lighting makes it a casual atmosphere. The spirit of the college comes through with big, bold images of the Bates brand – its logotype, bobcat mascot, and signature garnet color – prevalent in all the retail signage and across the college merchandise.
To connect the interior design with the historical context, Bates and the design team collaborated with Museum L-A, a local institution with curated art and artifacts on the history of work, industry, and culture of the Lewiston-Auburn region. On an inspirational tour of the museum, the team discovered historic silkscreens previously used by the Bates Manufacturing Co. for bedspreads and other cloth goods. The beautiful hand-crafted patterns were scaled up into a variety of installations within the student spaces, to appreciate the quality and details of the craftsmanship.
Soon after opening, Bates announced the residences as Kalperis Hall and Chu Hall in recognition of a generous commitment by Elizabeth Kalperis Chu and J. Michael Chu, both graduates of the school. Now hosting up to 1,500 visitors per day, the resident support functions — store, mail, and print center — were transformed into a hub for campus life, adding to the social experience of student life at Bates.