What is AKAR?
AKAR in Sanskrit means forms and shapes. That in many ways explains what we do at our Gallery and Architecture Office - we deal with functions in sculptural forms. The relationship between the architecture office and gallery started since the day we started our architecture practice. We knew that the clients we wished to attract were the ones who dreamed of their dwelling to be more than just a shelter, someone who understands aesthetics and enjoys the tension yet harmony between form and function. So the idea emerged to open a gallery and design store with our architecture practice as a friendly bridge.
Initially our store showed objects designed by other architects as a way to educate people about architects and their passion to extend beyond designing buildings. We were suckers for ceramics long before we dreamed about having a gallery. As a vessel form, pottery is the closest relative to architecture in art. So ceramics became a big part of our gallery. As a concept we wanted the gallery to have both art forms (handmade) and designed forms (machine made), a collection which represents passion for "good design sense", without discriminating the materials, building process or scale. Whether a handbag, a pot, a watch, food or shoes, it did not matter.
Our first Office/Gallery was only a 600 Sq. Ft. reception areas and hallway used as a gallery. The idea worked! Our practice grew and so did our gallery. Our next move was to a 1,500 Sq.Ft. space located in Downtown Iowa City. Our collection here increased significantly. We called several ceramic artists and literally begged them to share their work. Some of them were skeptical about we were trying to do in a small Midwest town. But persistence and begging worked; we were able to convince them to be part of our gallery. We soon realized what some of the artists were skeptical about! Our design and ceramics collection was starting to push Iowa City envelope. This is when we decided to start working on a website. Meanwhile the opportunity came to purchase a large space across the street with a 90 foot storefront corner location on the busy, beautiful Iowa Avenue on an axis of the Old Capital building. We jumped on it. Now this is our current location with 4,500 sq. ft available for our gallery on the street level and architecture office at the lower level. The idea still works, the union of the two still works!
How do I make a purchase?
Our store uniquely offers two very different groups of items, "Art" and "Design", therefore the process to buy both are different. When you click the B U Y button to buy items under "Art" you will prompted to fill out a purchase request form. Go ahead and fill this out and click the S U B M I T button. We will confirm within 72 hours whether the piece is available or not. To buy items under "Design" click the B U Y button for the item you want to buy. This will add the item to the shopping cart. This is also where you make your gift wrap choices. When you are ready to check out, click on the C H E C K O U T button where you will be prompted to enter your account information. If you do not have an account, you can create one here. After you have logged in, confirm your billing and shipping addresses while entering your payment information. Click P U R C H A S E to confirm purchase. We will send you an email to confirm the purchase.
Currently, one cannot make design purchases without creating an account. We realize that everyone may not want to do so. Our next phase of development will try to incorporate that option. But creating an account does help easier order tracking, expedite your checkout process, update billing/shipping information, create and update wish lists for you personally and for friends and family. You can also create and manage your own wedding registry.
We do not share or sell any personal information. All information is for the exclusive use of AKAR and is kept private at all times.
Why must I submit a purchase request to buy items from "Art"?
All of the "Art" items that we sell at AKAR are hand made by individual artists and are either one of a kind or made on a limited basis. Since we have both a physical location and an online store we must make sure that the art pieces you have selected are available. Once we have confirmed availability, we will contact you within 48 hours to let you know if the piece is available or not and to get your shipping and billing information.Once the art pieces are confirmed you have 24 hours to claim them. If they are not claimed within that time period they will be made available for purchase again.
When do certain items say SALE PENDING instead of BUY?
All of the "Art" items that we sell at AKAR are handmade by individual artists and are either one of a kind or made on a limited basis. Since we have both a physical location and an online store we must make sure that the art pieces you have selected are available. The SALE PENDING button appears only under these "Art" items. SALE PENDING means that someone has placed a purchase request for that particular item. It will change to SOLD once we have confirmed availability.
Can I purchase a gift certificate?
Yes. We offer gift certificates in any amount. The gift certificate will be wrapped in our signature wrapping and can be shipped according to your instructions.
Will I receive an email confirmation?
Yes. We will send you an email confirmation. The first one to let you know that we have received the order. We will also send you an email when your order ships, including the tracking number.
Due to human error our site may list an occasional incorrect price. While we make every effort to ensure these mistakes do not happen we do not honor the incorrect prices. In the event of an error we will inform the customer before the order is processed & the customer will have the option to continue with the order or cancel.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Travelers Checks, Money Orders and Personal Checks. Please note that in the case of a personal check we will process your order only after the check has been cleared.
How do you guarantee my credit card security?
Akar uses a Geotrust Quick Secure Socket Layer Web Server Certificate. QuickSSL enables up to 256-bit encryption and assures that confidential information and transactions cannot be viewed, intercepted or altered.
How do I report damaged or defective items?
Please check all the packages upon delivery. Should a shipment arrive damaged or an item has a defect please notify us immediately at 1.319.351.1227. Upon inspection we will replace (if available) the item. If the item is one of a kind, for example a ceramic or glass piece, we will refund the amount. Be sure to save the inside packaging, outside box and all the packaging materials, since UPS will pickup the damaged shipments.
What is your return policy?
Items can be returned within 30 days after purchase for store credit or exchange only. Call us at 1.319.351.1227 for a return authorization number. Items must be returned in original unused condition and original packaging. Shipping and Handling costs are non refundable. Be sure to use a shipping service that provides a tracking number and adequate insurance to cover full cost. Items may need additional packaging for return shipping. We do not take responsibility for damaged and lost return shipments and the return shipping costs. Return your package to: AKAR, 257 E. Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240. We will notify you by email once we have received and processed your returned item(s).
Items that are asked to be held after payment is received are still under the 30 day return policy. If we are asked to hold items for 30 days then those items may not be returned.
Returns we cannot accept:
Returns 30 days past the purchase date.
Returns without all original packaging and enclosed documents.
Any item that is not in its original condition is damaged or missing parts unless damage has been previously noted by your return.
Any special order or sales items.
Can I cancel my order?
Orders can be cancelled for no charge before they are processed. Once the order is processed and packaged there will be no credit for the shipping and handling charge.
Reproduction & Borrowing of Website Images:
Photographs & graphics are exclusive property of AKAR and may not be used without written permission.
Is it possible to order Items that are no longer available online?
We do allow for special orders so long as the merchandise is still available. Just call us and we will help you through the order. Special order items do require a 50% non-refundable deposit. Items that are drop shipped directly to you from manufacturer will require full payment. We will accept cancellations if done within 24 hours by phone. We cannot guarantee delivery dates for special orders, but we will keep you updated on the details.
Can I have my item(s) gift-wrapped?
Yes, we can gift wrap for you. Just click the gift wrap option by picking the wrapping choice and enter the gift message. Gift wrapping may not be available for certain oversize items or drop shipped items.
Do I pay sales taxes on my purchase?
Sales Tax will automatically be added to orders placed within Iowa. For all other states, comply with your state sales tax laws for online purchases.
What is the difference between a wish list and a registry?
A wish list is a reminder of gifts that you may want for yourself or other people. You can create one or more lists giving each a different name, for example a wish list of Christmas gift ideas for your family and friends, a list with birthday gift ideas, a list of gifts you would like to receive. It is possible to make this wish public at anytime if you would like someone to be able to buy you gifts off this list or you may choose to keep this list private for only your use. The wish list will not have any expiration date.
A gift registry is used for bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, birthdays and other events that would require a registry. This list can remain private until you are ready to post them. The difference with the registry is that it will have an expiration date after your event so that the list will no longer be available after this point.
Can I add items to my registry later?
Yes, you can add or delete items at any time. Just login to your account and click to add new things.
Does the store keep a copy of my registry available on location?
Yes. People can locally purchase gifts from your registry in store and these purchases will be updated at the end of the day to help avoid duplicate purchases.
What if I receive duplicate gifts?
Since people can purchase gifts from either the website or at our store it is possible to receive duplicate gifts. We will try our best to not allow duplication, but if it should happen we would be happy to exchange the item.
Can I ship the items directly to the registrants?
Yes, just note that in the instructions box in the cart.
What is your shipping policy?
All orders within US are shipped by UPS. Currently shipping rates are calculated by category. When you pick several items, shipping will be calculated individually. For international shipping we will quote you the shipping charges before shipping.
Will I receive an email confirmation of a sent shipment?
We will send you an email once your package has been sent with a tracking number.
Do you ship to Alaska & Hawaii?
Yes but international shipping charges apply for Alaska & Hawaii. We will quote you the cost before shipping.
How is shipping time determined?
We are located in Iowa City, Iowa. Since we are so centrally located shipping time for ground is usually 5 to 7 days to get to either coast.
Do you offer faster shipping?
Currently we offer ground shipping. We will be adding a faster shipping option in our next development phase.
Can I have my order shipped to a different address than my billing address?
Yes, just make sure you note the change in the billing and shipping portion of the cart checkout.