The challenge was to convert a former, dimly lit restaurant space into a retail store with a bright and fresh atmosphere. When Marmol Radziner Associates (MR A, Santa Monica, Calif.) set out to design the W. Hollywood, Calif., location of Costume National, the firm attempted to infuse a Los Angeles flavor, taking cues from the store's fabric selection and construction techniques.
Ennio Capasa, the Milan-based fashion designer and store owner, desired a space that would meld the cultural overtones of Los Angeles within the visual language and design philosophy of his high-end, urban clothing line.
The design team first increased the amount of natural light coming into the 3000-square-foot Melrose Avenue store. Six windows lining two perimeter walls were enlarged, and skylights were revamped. The sloping roof and curved corner entrance helped capture incoming daylight, as did large display windows on the two front facades. Designers made use of the slanted ceiling by incorporating three divider walls to form interesting alcoves for clothing display. Large backlit boxes in each alcove give the illusion of floating merchandise. Fluorescent and LED lighting in the darker, shadowed sections supplement the sunlight.
Customer-cosseting features include an abundance of sitting spaces and a private dressing area. And a variety of textures within a simple white and warm gray color range, including lacquer finishes, leathers and suedes, give the store a luxurious feel.
Client: Costume National, Milan -- Ennio Capasa, owner, fashion designer; Carlo Capasa, owner
Architect/Design Team: Marmol Radziner Associates, Santa Monica, Calif. -- Ron Radziner, design principal; Leo Marmol, managing principal; Stephanie Hobbs, project architect; Nicole Star and Huay Wee, project team; Ross Yerian, construction project manager; Reginald Dunham, site superintendent
Structural Engineer: Niver Engineering, Los Angeles
Lighting Consultant: Brubaker Lighting, Los Angeles Suppliers: Ardex, Caraopolis, Pa. (flooring); Geisler's Glass, Chatsworth, Calif. (starfire glass); Monte Allen, W. Los Angeles (custom furniture); Bartco Lighting, Huntington Beach, Calif. (LED shelf lighting) Photography: Benny Chan, Santa Monica, Calif.