The Main Street Market may be getting an overhaul early next year, with a new floor plan and design to better accommodate the weekend and lunchtime crowds.
The market, which opened 10 years ago, has been redesigned by Commercial Design Interiors Group and a team of LSU students after the state and BREADA, which operates the market, realized how much wear and tear the space had gone through, said Copper Alvarez, director of the Big River Economic and Agricultural Alliance.
The market also wasn’t originally designed to suit the way the public uses the space, making it ripe for a revamp. Alvarez, who was speaking to the Downtown Development District on Tuesday, said the discussion was initiated by the Office of State Buildings, which will oversee the project because the market is in a portion of the Galvez parking garage along Main Street.
Alvarez said the cost of the project has not been determined, though it will be funded by BREADA and the OSB. Further details on implementing the design will be ironed out later this year, she said.
Matthew Edmonds, who owns Commercial Design with partner Tracy Burns, said the key goal of the new design was to make the space more functional and improve the appearance.
Edmonds and Burns, who are also instructors at LSU, persuaded the state to allow three students of LSU’s College of Art and Design to participate in the process. The college will present the plan at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the College of Art and Design’s atrium on the LSU campus.
From a functional standpoint, the plan calls for the market to include more bathrooms, and the eastern edge, where the permanent vendors are now, will be made entirely retail, freeing up more space along the western edge where the “batting cage-style” slots were for tables, mobile kiosks and people walking around. The team eliminated the problem of lines forming perpendicular to the food vendors and blocking the pathway by using rope lines to make lines form back-and-forth in front.
An outline representing the Mississippi River from an 1800s map will stretch the length of the market on the floor, delineating which side is for use of the vendors and which side is for people circulating and sitting.
“The core concept came from the river itself,” Edmonds said.
Larger seating arrangements will be on the ends, with smaller ones in the middle, across from the vendors.
The space will be flexible to accommodate the different ways the market is used throughout the week.
“These (students) have been out there in the morning, in the afternoon and on the weekends and really saw what were the strengths of the space, what were its weaknesses and use that as a road map to come up with their approach to the redesign,” he said.
Aesthetically, the counter design of the vendor’s storefronts will look like crates to convey the sense of a traditional market.
Portable kiosks that look like carts will help conserve space and increase flexibility. Light blue acoustic panels will create the illusion of sky overhead, absorbing sound and capturing the light from the western windows. One end of the market will include a sculpture representing the red stick denoting Baton Rouge.
Edmonds said it was important to have the design create a better-looking space during times when the vendors are shut down.
“When it’s closed, it’s not aesthetically pleasing enough,” he said.
On the exterior, the design calls for a metal canopy that matches the art deco-style of the building and the awnings will feature the market’s logo, an illustration of baskets of produce and a rising sun.