Architecture Firm(s): Brooks + Scarpa
Owner: Aesop/Victoria Del Rico, Head of Public Relations
Location: Los Angeles, California
Category: Up to $150,000 in construction cost (category one)
Drawing from the rich fabric of its surroundings in Los Angeles’ historic fashion district, this project relied on the humble cardboard tube and paper for its walls, furniture, and fixtures. This new retail space for a skin care company is tucked into the ground floor of the 1929 Eastern Columbia Building and projects a warm and soothing atmosphere, adjectives regularly used to describe the company’s products.
Echoing the cardboard tubes that carry bolts of fabric found strewn about the district’s costume shops and fashion houses, the team deployed the tubes in this project to explore the tension between materials, form, and experience. Countertops made of recycled paper and display shelves created with carbon-reinforced paper complement the tubular walls. Though just 3/8 of an inch thick, the shelves and countertops can withstand daily wear and tear and easily support the weight of the products. All of the paper materials were crafted by a local manufacturer just one mile from the site.
“The singular use of this one material with connection to the local area is an appropriate choice, recycling these brown paper tubes and turning it into a beautiful space. The restraint is what made this project quite complex.” - Jury comment
While this location, at 800 square feet, is the client’s largest retail space, the overarching goal was to continue to provide customers with a personal and rich experience. From outside, the long storefront reveals a comfortable space, enticing potential customers to enter. The interior functions much like a surface wrapper in which voids play as important a role as surfaces in revealing the patterns of material use. In addition, the tubes reference the historic building’s stone facade in both color and texture without directly replicating it. The design engages the user while heightening the senses to deliver a new vitality to their retail experience.
“The retail interior is at first glance memorable, and upon further review, meaningful and masterful. Retail tenant improvements are associated with fashion and temporariness, and using a waste or low-cost material is brilliant and appropriate, and hopefully inspirational.” - Jury comment