More than the heart of the entertainment industry, the city of Los Angeles is also a hot spot for design lovers to check out the latest in interior styles and architecture.
The Broad is a contemporary art museum.
Seventy-one kilometres from north to south and 47 from east to west, Los Angeles or LA is such a huge metropolis that it is almost impossible to know every nook. This makes asking the locals for a list of must-see places all the more essential, especially if you are only going to be in town for a few days.
Admittedly, LA is not the type of city you fall in love with at first sight. That distinction belongs to the likes of Paris, Rome or Sydney. For the past years, however, LA has experienced a cultural boom, resulting in its current fascinating energy. The film and entertainment industry continues to burgeon, while artists, galleries and museums regularly move from the East Coast to the West Coast, where the sunny, warm weather welcomes beach goers all year round.
What’s more, all Angelenos (the natives of the city) appear to have an ultra-cool attitude that is reflected everywhere in the city. The beach vibes in Santa Monica and Malibu, the glamour of Beverly Hills and Hollywood, and the cultural richness of Downtown LA are some examples of what you can expect. Keen to check out the new spots? Here’s a round-up of eight destinations worth visiting when you are in the LA area.
In the booming district of Downtown Los Angeles, the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry is no longer the only eye-catching building on Grand Avenue.
The Broad, a contemporary art museum named for philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, with its airy honeycombish white exterior, known as the veil, and vault-like interiors, has everybody’s curiosity piqued.
Designed by New York-based studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), and built with 16 million kilos of concrete, a 32m escalator takes you to the top floor where a column-free gallery space of more than 48,438 sq ft with 7m high ceilings is bathed in natural light.
Supported at three points, the veil has five 58m steel girders and 318 skylight monitors with glazed openings that create an airy, bright area. On display inside are some 2,000 pieces of art owned by Eli and Edythe Broad that come from around the world.
From top: Brightly printed upholstery adds a little California dreaming to The Nomad Hotel Los Angeles interiors.
The coffered ceilings were meticulously preserved.
Every room is appointed with custom furnishings, original artwork curated by Paris-based design studio Be-poles, and Bellino linens. Many also feature freestanding bathtubs.
The hotel’s location, Giannini Place, was built in the 1920s as the headquarters of The Bank of Italy.
THE NOMAD HOTEL LOS ANGELES
For his first project in the city, The Nomad Hotel Los Angeles, French designer Jacques Garcia blended European elegance with California style while honouring the neoclassical history of its location – the landmark 12-storey Giannini Place that was built in the 1920s as the headquarters of The Bank of Italy.
Garcia chose the fully restored Italianate lobby ceiling with gold and blue accents as the starting point for all of the establishment’s decor. In the public areas, the original marble floor, coffered ceilings and square pilaster columns topped with Corinthian capitals give a sense of opulence.
In the 241 rooms – many with freestanding pedestal bathtubs – the colour scheme, custom furnishings and rich materials pay tribute to Italy.
From top: The building exudes a nomadic feel with its unpretentious layout.
Thanks to full-length glass panels, natural light floods the gallery.
Many of the artworks and exhibits at The Future Perfect are rather extraordinary.
THE FUTURE PERFECT
Founded in 2003 by David Alhadeff, The Future Perfect, has become one of the world’s foremost contemporary design galleries with locations in New York City, Manhattan and San Francisco as well.
Its Casa Perfect home in Beverly Hills is a modernist villa designed by architect David Hyun, built in 1957 and purchased by Elvis Presley in 1967. Rather unconventional for a gallery, it features floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic city views and restored elements such as marble fireplaces and coffered ceilings.
Viewing is by appointment only. In its free-flowing, chic spaces, visitors will discover pieces of contemporary design by the likes of Lindsey Adelman, Eric Roinestad, Chris Wolston, Dimorestudio and Piet Hein Eek.
Industrial meets modernity in the Graye showroom.
Filled with furniture, lighting and art, this 6,997 sq ft warehouse-style showroom’s industrial feel comes from its concrete floor and exposed brick walls painted black.
Among the brands exclusively distributed by the design and lifestyle atelier founded by creative director Maria Cicione and fuelled by her passion for modern European design are MDF Italia, Porada, de Castelli, Linteloo, Gratz Archive and Porro, of which Graye maintains the largest collection in the US. Atelier de Troupe, Glas Italia and Bosa are some of the other manufacturers with products available at Graye.
Supporting Graye’s objective of contributing to the flourishing design culture of Los Angeles, it also offers project management of interior design and architecture projects, custom services for space planning and layout, as well as post-purchase support for care and maintenance.
Clockwise top left: Garde’s new space, spread over 2,400 sq ft, allows for exhibitions and events.
Its vintagey facade contrasts with the modern exhibits.
The store stocks a collection of contemporary pottery and ceramics, too.
Founded in 2012 by Scotti Sitz and John Davidson, Garde has become the mecca for avant-garde designs in Los Angeles. Its many clients include Ellen DeGeneres, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Rumi Neely, Ellen Pompeo and Cliff Fong.
After nearly seven years, it recently relocated to a larger building just a few doors east of the former store on Beverly Boulevard. The products available include design pieces by Nika Zupanc, Vincent Van Duysen, Tom Dixon, Piet Boon, and Faye Toogood, as well as jewellery by Rebecca Mir Grady, Sarah Perlis and Armed With Ardor.
Clockwise from top: The curated designs vary from the mid-comtemporary to modern hip-hop.
Everywhere, the styling and positioning are meticulous.
Wander through a mesmerising setting accented by neutral tones.
On Melrose Avenue, Galerie Half – founded by Cameron Smith and Cliff Fong – is a paradise for design aficionados.
Pieces by 20th century European masters such as Poul Henningsen, Le Corbusier, Borge Mogensen, Jean Royere, Greta Grossman, Poul Kjaerholm, Serge Mouille, and Arne Jacobsen are surprisingly and harmoniously combined with Western antiquities, architectural relics, African sculptures, and primitive benches or tables.
The flow and limited number of objects and furnishings evoke the feeling of being in a home. Everything is placed in carefully considered spots to receive the perfect amount of light (whether natural or artificial). Artworks (paintings and black and white photographs) are also an important part of the backdrop, helping to personalise every corner.
The patina and original finishes shape a timeless and peaceful environment, inviting visitors to linger among exquisite objects.
Clockwise from top left: Spend a leisurely afternoon with a refreshing cooler.
Casual dining is the main offer of the restaurant.
The laid-back vibe is unmistakable.
The owners use produce from an on-site garden.
The interiors were totally transformed.
On Sunset Boulevard, a modern white facade stands out among the colourful buildings of Echo Park. This 50-seat restaurant is a family affair and vision-come-true for husband and wife Jaime Turrey and Brooke Fruchtman.
The pair transformed a former pupuseria, serving El Salvadoran thick corn tortilla filled with anything from meats to cheeses, into a casual-chic restaurant with tufted green banquettes and wood-topped tables on one side, and stools and a marble bar on the other, all by Style de Vie.
Black Era armchairs by Thonet of Design Within Reach, brass sconces by Doug Newton for Nightwood and handmade textiles add to the laid-back vibe. “My inspiration for the design was the neighbourhood itself,” says Fruchtman. “We wanted a space that didn’t feel too contemporary nor referential of a bygone era. Ostrich Farm is just California cool and casual.”
Clockwise from top left: The high ceiling adds a sense of formalism.
Bronze accents on the rooftop terrace turn up the sophisticated vibe.
Wainscotting warms up the cosy feel.
The long bar gets super busy every evening.
“Cuban expat Birdie moves to Miami and meets Clyde, her future husband. They return to his native New Orleans to open this restaurant. Dressed in a different suit every day of the week, he is infectiously charming and adores Birdie. She’s passionate about food and the power it has to bring people together.”
This simple narrative, as retold by interior designer Sally Breer, who co-founded LA-based ETC.etera with stylist and creative director Jake Rodehuth-Harrison, inspired Cafe Birdie’s whole concept that includes a backyard patio. Located in a 1920s building in Highland Park, one of LA’s historic neighborhoods, the restaurant-bar is open daily for dinner and on the weekends for brunch.
Shaped to please the eye and the soul, CafeBirdie features marble countertops, high ceilings, copper tables with banquettes and hanging pendant lighting. The combination makes it a lively space, both casual and energetic.
Photos MIKE KELLY; BENOIT LINERO; PIA RIVEROLA; MINH T; SAM FROST; SHADE DEGGES; SKANDIA SHAFER; TESSA NEUSTADT.