GATHER Fall River

Bridging Fall River’s creative community at the crossroads of design, art, and manufacturing, through experiences, exhibitions, and events.

LOCATION: 44 TROY STREET, FALL RIVER, MA

YEAR: 2022-2023

TYPE: ADAPTIVE REUSE

PROJECT OVERVIEW

THE CHALLENGE: Fall River and the South Coast region are home to a burgeoning creative scene. In recent years, artist venues like open craft markets, festivals, and pop-up shops have formed throughout the region. Fall River also has a long history with the textile and design manufacturing industry. However, the industry has rarely overlapped with the creative community in the city and largely keeps to itself at the edges of Downtown. In 2022, MassDevelopment convened a group of stakeholders inclusive of the new owners of the property and members of the Fall River creative community, to begin cultivating a vision for 44 Troy’s future as an asset to the regional creative community.

THE OUTCOME: After a collaborative planning process, 44 Troy is set to open as GATHER, Fall River’s inaugural design center. The center will include a retail and design incubation space with Viva Fall River, a museum with FR MoCA, and workshop and “ignition space” with Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition. GATHER will strive to be a welcoming environment focused on providing mentorship and opportunity to the Fall River creative community.

 

PLANNING + ENGAGEMENT

The planning process kicked off with the IP team researching and interviewing the region’s current creative assets to inform future programming at 44 Troy. From there, we explored analogous creative projects from around the country that would inspire similar models. With the completion of the research phase, we embarked upon the process of framing recommendations for space use. The team came to a consensus that the property should be comprised of three anchor spaces; a “design center” where designers could both sell their work and interact with the textile and design manufacturing industry, an exhibition and education center that would draw both established contemporary artists and young people, and finally a flexible event and workshop space open to all.

Following these recommendations, the team identified potential tenants to participate in a design charrette workshop hosted by our team to determine space allocation and interior buildout requirements. Finally, we worked with the team to set up an operational plan that would help differentiate the roles and responsibilities between the property’s steering committee, tenants, and potential partners. Paired with some potential property-wide activation ideas that ranged from marketing/branding to events both in and outside of the building, it was important to decide what each role looked like before the property would open to the public.

DESIGN + MARKETING

Once the roadmap to create 44 Troy was in place, we embarked on a design process in order to craft the brand and visual identity for the building that would bring together the area’s long history of the textile and design manufacturing industry with their mission to unite Fall River’s creative community. The design discovery phase helped us understand the market as well as the group’s values, personality, potential audiences, and more. We then began the naming process and developed the story for the building that is now known as GATHER Fall River. The name plays off both the popular “Gathering Stitch” used in sewing, and the act of assembling and bringing people together.

The logo is a flexible wordmark that features a bold headline typeface, underlined by a decorative line that represents the creative current running through Fall River, as well as the stitching itself. Additionally, you can see a connection between the letters G and A. This bridged letterform is a subtle nod to represent the iconic Braga bridge, a symbol that is often overused within Fall River imagery. Paired with vibrant colors, modern type, and dynamic gradients, the visual identity symbolizes connectivity, flexibility, and community. Its simple but recognizable appearance is meant to compliment partner logos and collaborations with other Fall River creative organizations. We expanded these brand guidelines across marketing materials, signage, a website and templates that will bring future programming to life, and allow the GATHER space to grow for years to come.

Our work on the project did not stop there. We were brought into the fold once again to design a visual identity for Selvedge Southcoast, GATHER‘s retail and design incubation space, operated by Viva Fall River. The outcome, a handwritten wordmark weaving together unique typography and iconography, brings a sense of style and authenticity to the Selvedge Southcoast identity. It evokes creativity and playfulness while maintaining legibility and elegance, reminiscent of iconic clothing brands such as Madewell, which originated on the Southcoast. The extended tails and subtle eye of a needle pays homage to the history of textiles.