The Underwood’s Building: Turning Fifty and More Beautiful than Ever

With renovations now complete, the Underwood building is ready to celebrate its fiftieth birthday in 2017.

Laura Underwood describes how the features of the remodel will make the customer experience even more comfortable and memorable:                 

With this remodel comes a beautiful new entrance for our customers into our fountain room filled with many diamond and colored gemstone creations. Moving into our newly renovated and very private bridal area, our customers will have a comfortable and quiet space to view Underwood diamond creations and pearls. We also have included a new refreshment area for our customers to enjoy as they relax in our stunning store which will be celebrating her 50th birthday in 2017.

This beautiful building has the kind of serendipitous history you might see in a movie. On a fateful day in the mid-1960s, an architect who was just starting his career came to Bill Underwood to get his watch repaired. Underwood admired the architect’s work, and the architect admired Underwood’s skills as well. At the time, neither man was in the greatest of financial situations, and both were trying to get their careers off the ground. Little did they know, both would be among the most highly-regarded and highly-awarded leaders in their fields fifty years later.

That architect was Fay Jones, who would become a famous designer and the only apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright to be awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Institute of Architects.

Bill Underwoods recalls                 

One day, Fay came to me – this was probably in ’64 or ’65 – he came to me and said, ‘You know, I’d really love to do a building for you. I think you’re going to go places, and I’m looking for a place, too, where I can have an office. I wonder if we could work out some deal.

Thus the Underwood’s building was born, Jones settled into his studio upstairs, and his prediction about the bright future of Underwood’s Jewelers came true.

The stunning design of the Underwood’s building is all about continuity, following the principles of organic architecture that infused Jones’ work. Organic architecture is about continuity in the relationship between the parts and the whole and an honest use of materials, meaning the wood is wood, not cement board pretending to be wood. In using the principles of organic architecture to design the Underwood’s building, Jones ensured that the quality of the space would match the quality of the creations it houses.

Fay Jones passed away in 2004, but his legacy lives on in the way the brick on the outside of the building continues in through the window, in the way the layered-wood design on the chandelier is echoed in the design at the base of each display case, and in the way the beauty of the Underwood’s building reflects and enhances the beauty of its contents.

We invite you to celebrate the past and the future with us by visiting our store, where you will see both the harmonic beauty of Fay Jones’ design and the lovely new features incorporated in the renovation.

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