How a retailer communicates its strategy through its flagship’s architecture

Los Angeles – Downtown LA has a new retail monument – a nonconforming appendage by all means, the pink brutalist structure that houses the latest flagship store from luxury multi-brand retailer The Webster is impossible to miss. Jutting out from monolithic shopping mall Los Angeles Beverly Center, the concrete brutalist shell of a pre-existing building has been completely transformed by Adjaye Associates.

The architects’ mission was to help The Webster ‘transcend the now-dated transactional and commercial experience of most brick-and-mortar retail’ with the 1,022-sq-m space. Visual juxtaposition is central to establishing the ideals behind the project: the flagship ‘elegantly asserts itself as a sculptural and experiential counterpoint’ to the retail experience offered by Beverly Centre. To achieve the enticing hue of the cantilevered façade and interior spaces, the building’s concrete was injected with a pink dye that captures one of the many tones of a California midsummer sunset.

Just through the exterior threshold, a digital art wall installed into the underbelly of the cantilever reveals itself to shoppers, forming a column-less portico with portico seating. It will feature custom art pieces commissioned by the retailer. ‘Both out of deference to and in defiance of Hollywood’s amplified digital culture,’ the spokesperson explains, ‘the art wall is intentionally low-resolution at 1472 pixels wide and 20 pixels tall’. A sculptural water fountain in this area establishes a public space, thought of by The Webster as an urban oasis.

The Webster’s exteriors coalesce seamlessly with the materials and colours of the sculpted interiors, which were built using various types and textures of rosy cast-in-place concrete. Columns forged from the stone and teardrop-shaped display plinths constitute a series of vignettes for curated merchandise, while bronze-framed mirrors and racks line the perimeter of the space. The fitting rooms’ upper walls showcase 1950s wallpaper sourced from the client’s personal collection.

A destination that turns away from the impersonality and rigidity of corporate shopping and makes a bold architectural statement in doing so, The Webster is undoubtedly a welcome inclusion to LA’s saturated retail scene.

adjaye.com

Location 8500 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, United States

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