Shop: Park Life (San Francisco)

Park Life

Shop: Park Life

Address: 220 Clement Street | San Francisco, CA 94118

URL: http://www.parklifestore.com

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went in to a new shop located on Clement Street in the Richmond District of San Francisco named “Park Life”. The street that Park Life is on is one of the most interesting in the city. It’s a street full of old and new immigrants coming from China and Southeast Asia with a large contingency of Russian and a small grouping of Irish. So, the shops along the blocks between Arguello and, say, 12th Avenue are eclectic to say the least. There are coffee shops, bars, dim sum parlors, tofu makers, every type of near and far eastern cuisine, produce markets, and Russian delis just to name some of the food options. It may be the most diverse set of blocks in the city which is saying something for San Francisco.

Tucked in to all of this mish-mash is a growing collection of what you might call hipster shops. These are book shops, better coffee shops, yuppie restaurants, and things like Park Life. In such a dizzying array of diverse shops, you might think that a funky design and book store / art gallery would not get noticed, but Park Life’s spartan sensibility is a needed relief on the hectic few blocks which surround it. The interior of the store, as you might guess is painted white. A collection of books sits in the center of the room with all types of products placed sparsely along the perimeter of the space as if they were each on display. There are a lot of things to see here, but the space doesn’t feel cluttered with stuff unlike one of their neighboring businesses, Green Apple Books. In the back of Park Life is a small gallery. They have periodic shows coming from primarily young and very talented artists.

Another aspect of this store which is not entirely apparent is that there is a publishing arm of Park Life called Paper Museum Press (PMP). They have, as far as I can tell, only published one volume of work by the local muralist Andrew Schoultz. To be quite honest, a book from Mr. Schoultz was long overdue, and it’s hard for me to believe that such a local talent hasn’t been herded off to New York or Los Angeles. PMPs first foray into publishing seems as if it’s a hit. The Schoultz book has been picked up by Ginko Press for distribution, and I think all signs point to more great monographs in the future.

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