Sawmill Market is a contemporary interpretation of New Mexico. Together with owner Jim Long of Heritage Hotels and Resorts and F&B concept developers Lauren and Jason Greene (the Grove Cafe), Islyn Studio drew directly from the rich cultural heritage of the state to create Sawmill Market, a food hall and culinary laboratory in Albuquerque.
Transformed from a lumber warehouse in the Sawmill District, close to Albuquerque’s original Old Town settlement, Sawmill Market offers 40,000 square feet of art, design, and culinary innovation, with boutique owner-operated restaurants, cocktail bars, farm-to-table pantries, taprooms, a test kitchen, pop-up shops, and demo kitchens.
Islyn Studio crafted the interiors, avoiding the conventional notions of New Mexican design to opt instead for a more story-driven approach that roots the guest in place and allows the 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 with softer touches including natural plays of shadow and light and imperfect painterly strokes of color. Designers were inspired by the flexible functionality and use of space of the traditional Navajo trading posts and employed similar wayfinding structures throughout. Reclaimed timber from the original warehouse demolition and poured concrete comprise the flooring and custom furniture and fixtures. Among the historic materials, the firm weaved in storied elements of heritage and indigenous craft: handmade natural tiles, saddle leather, and earthy and organic layers. Work of local artists, artisans, craftspeople, and woodworkers is featured throughout.
Photo: Read McKendree