South Congress is getting more luxe by the minute with Soho House Austin debuting earlier this year, pristine handbag brand Hermes announcing it would open next year and Nak Armstrong opening its doors most recently.
Award-winning designer Nak Armstrong is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his namesake jewelry brand by opening a flagship boutique next to Austin's new Soho House, where it will be the only local brand in the development.
Opening on South Congress' newest development Music Lane, Nak Armstrong Fine Jewelry opened its doors for the first time last week. The new store carries Armstrong's entire collection, including his diffusion line, Nakard. Though it is Armstrong's first freestanding store, he has been featured in boutiques like Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Net-A-Porter.
A designer with a background in architecture, Armstrong has made a name for himself with his signature "stone plissé" setting that imitates ruched fabric and pixelated foliage-inspired designs. The store was designed to emulate Armstrong's complex design with geometric nuance, the brand's signature muted chartreuse and natural influences.
The store has been in the making for three years, as Armstrong sought to create a place that radiated a laid-back atmosphere and felt like Austin. Walking in, you'll see plenty of chartreuse velvet, hand-cut mosaic floors made with terracotta as a nod to Austin's Latin influences and Milanese accents, all brought to life by a team of Austin-based artisans and designers.
"Austin is so informal in some ways, yet people are craving another interpretation of that— something luxe but approachable," Armstrong said. "(It's) like a beautiful residence you wouldn't want to leave."
The jewelry boutique is nestled between Soho House and St. Cecelia Hotel and Residences in a long space where they house jewelry along parallel narrow walls. The space will open up a variety of events, like designer meet and greets, new collection launches, local art collaborations and upcoming 10th-anniversary celebrations according to a press release.
"Austin is not only a place that has fostered and supported my work, but it has also become a dynamic luxury market," Armstrong said. "If you had told me only a few years ago that South Congress was going to transform into a place that could support brands like mine, I wouldn't have believed you. You can feel the shift, and it's exciting to be a part of it."
The store is open from Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
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Samsung might soon be making more moves in the Austin metro.
The tech giant, which made waves as it announced plans to build a $17 billion chip plant in Taylor in late 2021, might be looking to expand in the Northeast Austin area, according to an Austin Business Journal report.
ABJ said the South Korean company is seeking more tax breaks from nearby Taylor and Manor school districts. The company filed documents requesting Chapter 313 incentives related to the breaks Saturday, and ABJ said each district will review the requests separately on Tuesday.
"While we do not have specific plans to build at this time, the Chapter 313 application process is part of our long-term planning to evaluate the viability of potentially building additional fabrication plants in the U.S.," Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC.'s director of communications, Michele Glaze, told the ABJ.
But Samsung has made headlines for more than just the $17 billion plant: In early 2022, the company caught heat for two separate spills of millions of gallons of wastewater into tributaries near its semiconductor plant.
While no expansion is promised, ABJ speculates that expansions could occur at the 1,200 acre planned Taylor factory or near the chipmaking factory on Austin's East Parmer Lane. Both expansions could bring even more revenue and job opportunities to Samsung's Texas home.
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A first minute error gave Austin FC an early setback, but with the help of two red cards and two second-half goals, the Verde and Black still forced a last-minute tie in a messy home battle against Orlando City SC Sunday night.
With the 2-2 draw, Austin dropped from No. 1 in the MLS West conference but still earned a point in the standings thanks to a penalty kick goal from Sebastian Driussi and a breakthrough shot from striker Moussa Djitte, who scored his first goal with the club in the final minute of play.
Here are the top three takeaways from the match:
A fateful mistake
Just days after his highlight reel-worthy LAFC performance, Austin keeper Brad Stuver scratched heads as he gave away a goal seconds into the game. Stuver's fateful pass went straight to Orlando's Junior Urco, who was already in the box and tapped a quick pass to Ercan Kara to score the first goal of the match.
The mistake forced Austin to chase a tie for the rest of the match, especially as center back Ruben Gabrielsen benched himself in the 20th minute. The team later said Gabrielsen has come down with something similar to a stomach bug.
Orlando would score two minutes later, and Austin FC left the first half looking like the opposite of its "Best in the MLS" self from just days prior.
The two red cards
By the 60th minute of the match, however, the tides had turned. Orlando's Rodrigo Schlegel, who had already racked up a yellow card on a handball, was ousted from the game two minutes later for yet another handball, this time in the penalty box.
Austin's main man Sebastian Driussi took the kick and sent it in for his eighth goal of the season to make it 2-1.
And just over five minutes later, Orlando's Cesar Araujo was the second man in purple kicked out of the match after he kicked Alex Ring on a slide tackle near the box. Austin was left with just over 20 minutes, and just nine opponents left, to try and tie it up.
The 'Mouss' is loose!
As the whistle blew and regulation time ran out, Orlando seemed to have won the match. The team had withstood many, many close calls—including two shots off the post from Austin FC's Diego Fagundez and Maxi Urruti—as Austin FC flooded the box with 22 cracks at a goal.
But thanks to the chaotic nature of the game, Austin FC was given nine extra minutes to tie it up. Moussa Djitte was the one who finally broke through five minutes into stoppage time, earning his first goal in Verde to put a 2-2 cap on the wild home match.
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