Set in Summerland, Santa Barbara, GARDE House occupies the second level of the retail outlet GARDE shop, where visiting Angelenos can shop till they drop, then recover with a short-term stay at the fully furnished one-bedroom right above it. Maybe pick up the sofa as a souvenir on the way out?
A distillation of the L.A.-born brand, the quintessentially Cali-styled GARDE House exhibits effortlessly elevated design. Attuned to proportion, the “apartment” (perhaps if compared to a McMansion, but at 1,100 square feet, a good-sized bungalow) is exquisitely appointed with contemporary design pieces so that one can see how to curate the aesthetic. Even better, experience how it might feel to live with the environment for a day or two. (Spoiler: It feels great.)
“We wanted to have an extension of the shop/showroom space where we could show our collections in the context of a home,” says John Davidson, co-owner of GARDE with Scotti Sitz. “Of course, the bonus is that guests can purchase everything in the apartment for their own home, as well.” Shop the space and it’s likely to be a spree, because GARDE has all the goods, from furnishings and accents to textiles and gifts.
Both retail and residential spaces are housed in a 1921 barn-style building that is a bit of a showpiece, and key to the overall sensibility of the project. The apartment alone offers a one-bedroom with a living room, dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and outside deck. Look past the contemporary lines and find herringbone white oak flooring meant to evoke an early 20th century European aesthetic, blending eras and styles, not to mention realms.
“We are certainly not the first to combine residential and retail,” says Davidson, “but we believe that our mix of furniture, lighting and accessories is an outstanding presentation of the GARDE brand,” which draws inspiration for its apartment and stores from a wellspring of sources. Of these references, Davidson cites Belgian architects such as Vincent Van Duysen and Nicolas Schuybroek as top of mind.
“I am also constantly inspired by Joseph Dirand and Ilse Crawford, who are masters at giving older spaces a modern feel while remaining true to the architectural integrity of the original space,” he says. “Everything I select for GARDE is something that I would want in my own home.” Which is what makes the apartment cherry-picked perfection.
The location of Summerland was selected similarly. “We used to visit Summerland and were regular customers at the antique store that was housed in our building for 47 years,” says Davidson. Though not looking to expand their brand, when the opportunity presented itself, he and Sitz decided, in the parlance of the design maverick, to “go for it.” The serendipity likely stops here, though, with the Summerland concept the last of the duo’s planned expansions. “Two shops is enough for us” says Davidson, who is focused on refining the brand and bringing new designs to the United States. But customers? Well, we can’t get enough. gardeshop.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF SAM FROST
With its new project located at 700 Wilshire Blvd., only a few blocks from the beach, high-end lifestyle brand Proper Hospitality combined historic and contemporary architecture. One building dates back to circa 1928 and was originally designed by American architect Arthur E. Harvey in Spanish Colonial Revival style with Moorish and Art Deco ornamentation; the other is new construction featuring a completely different, contemporary look. Both structures are linked by a suspended bridge and constitute the Santa Monica Proper Hotel.
“We’ve thoughtfully restored the historic building to its original glory, from the exterior details to the rich materials we kept inside,” said Brian De Lowe, president and co-founder of Proper Hospitality and The Kor Group. Responsible for designing all the interior spaces, design star Kelly Wearstler drew inspiration from the beauty and hues of the coastline. Both in the public areas and the 271 guest rooms and suites—ranging from 325 to 925 square feet—the color palette is neutral and sandy.
Materials such as wood and stone are mostly natural, the textures are organic and the patterns bold, adding visual surprises. Furnishings of different styles (custom and vintage, raw and refined) impart a feeling of elegance and comfort, while reflecting the relaxed California lifestyle in a timeless manner.
“As with the design for all of the Proper properties, we were intentional about working with local artists to bring a truly authentic and localized experience to Santa Monica Proper,” says Kelly Wearstler. “Earthy, raw materials, organic textiles and a layering in of art and landscape bring a rich sensory feeling into the hotel.” Ben Medansky, Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga, Len Klikunas and Bradley Duncan are some of the artists whose works adorn the spaces.
Helmed by chefs Jessica Koslow and Gabriela Camara, who mix the flavors and techniques of Mexico and California, the ground floor restaurant-bar Onda is one of three dining options at Santa Monica Proper Hotel. Situated on the same level is also the lobby lounge Palma. On the seventh floor, the indoor-outdoor seafood restaurant, bar and lounge Calabra—led by Executive Chef Kaleo Adams—and the only rooftop pool deck in Santa Monica offers panoramic views with spectacular sunsets.
To complement the experience, the hotel comprises a 2,500-square-foot gym, more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space and the first-ever Surya Ayurvedic hotel spa—a 3,000-square-foot space created in collaboration with Ayurvedic expert and founder of Surya Spa Martha Soffer. Opening in November, the spa will provide physical, mental and spiritual programs including massages and treatments, as well as cooking, yoga and meditation.
Through its soulful interior design and atmosphere bathed with natural light and ocean breezes, this new hotel is an ode to Santa Monica history, landscape and way of life. properhotel.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE INGALLS
So starts Los Angeles-based designer Jeff Andrews new book, The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality, just released by Rizzoli. With A-list clients like Kris Jenner, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and Kaley Cuoco, Andrews is used to adapting his work to different personalities and needs. The philosophy he follows, however, is always the same. “Glamour is achieved not only through extravagance, but also restraint,” he says. “From the smallest details to the grandest gestures, from the mix of elements to the simplicity of selection.”
Designed for a family with three young kids, this Beverly Hills home features a contemporary Mediterranean style. Having carte blanche for this project, Andrews only had one stipulation from the owners: that the home have a European and personalized feel. The designer started with reimagining the layout and flow, especially on the first floor. He added large windows to create an airy atmosphere.
The theatrical entrance, where the staircase with a Spanish-style rail was relocated from the center to one side, features a geometric floor pattern in marble, granite and limestone customized by Andrews, a hand-painted wallpaper by Maya Romanoff, a table by Jerry Pair for Formations, and a sculptural, large-scale, custom smoky-quartz chandelier. In the dining room, where the family spends a lot of time, the Hobart table from Woodland Furniture can accommodate up to 18 people.
Two big light fixtures—which originally came from an old bank building and date back to 1910—combine with a gold metal sculpture by Peruvian contemporary artist Aldo Chaparro on the wall above the antique fireplace. Throughout the home, Andrews mixed and matched different periods and styles in a neutral palette with metallic accents, adding surprises and personality to every nook.
Adjacent to the dining room is the comfortable den, furnished with two custom L-shaped sofas from A. Rudin. In the large kitchen—now in the center of the house—with French oak floors and two islands, Andrews used shades of gray and cream, which contrast with gold pendant lights suspended from the coffered ceiling, with Volpi wallpaper from Quadrille.
“Each room in this home is a tribute to the transformative power of light,” Andrews says. Upstairs, the master bedroom comprises a sitting area and a four-poster bed. At each end of the room, there is a bathroom: one with a masculine aesthetic (dark stone and hard lines) for him; the other reflecting feminine touches (mother-of-pearl inlay and gilded wallpaper) for her.
“The look is evocative of a luxury hotel, yet it feels like home,” Andrews says. With the perfect balance between old and new, ladylike and manly, dramatic and restrained, this project is also timeless. jeffandrewsdesign.com
The idea of mixing one’s personal and professional lives is not the rarity it once was. Many partners are coupling interests and combining talents as seamlessly as a signature indoor-outdoor living space in Los Angeles. Not unlike the minds behind burgeoning L.A. design brand Hammer and Spear, spouses Scott Jarrell and Kristan Cunningham.
After separate trajectories in the television business (Cunningham hosted HGTV’s Design on a Dime and was a correspondent for Rachel Ray), the couple made a significant life pivot, joining forces to launch Hammer and Spear in 2013. Since that time, they have watched the brand balloon, stimulating an expansion to bring its multidisciplinary design studio and subsequent showroom under one roof, that of a historic brick building in the L.A. Downtown Arts District, a substantial 5,000 square feet of curated environs that speaks especially well to the currents of the resurgent neighborhood.
Featuring fluidity between settings, Hammer and Spear has a kind of whole-house feel, as if one could move into the showroom and never really know they were in a retail environment.
Certainly it’s tempting. The stylistic direction is quite sumptuous—moody and industrial, with a masculine sense and near-perfect understanding of how to mix accents with ease. It is edgy and atmospheric, the urban-cool reflection of DTLA. All is the result of the artistic alchemy and thoughtful collaboration at the core of the company.
Although best-known as a brand that bridges different aesthetics and centuries in a contemporary way—an exceedingly smart approach in a town with myriad architectural styles—Hammer and Spear also leans quite local, representing and collaborating with L.A. makers.
Look past the curated merch and more than a few creative types milling about and one senses a salon-like feel permeating the space, which is filled with furnishings and apothecary items that are stylistically symbiotic, with the likes of vintage rugs from Morocco, a traditional leather Chesterfield sofa and other pieces. It’s a layered, collected aesthetic that looks a lot like how one actually wants to lives—comfortably, with perfection-is-in-the-imperfection idea.
As effortless as Jarrell and Cunningham make it all look, the business they continue to build is backboned by a great deal of refining work. The name “Hammer and Spear” suggests nothing less, but in reality, “Hammer” speaks to Cunningham’s nickname (“The Hammer”) and “Spear” references the name last Jarrell, which means “man with the spear” in the Norse/Scandinavian language.
All helps to establish a narrative, which is a big part of the Hammer and Spear ethos. For Jarrell and Cunningham, curating, community building and conceptualizing environments is simply the story of their lives.
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF JESSICA SAMPLE, JONATHAN VENTURA (PORTRAIT), EMILY SHUR, AND BRITTANY AMBRIDGE
“We believe architecture should be expressive, timeless, and always in unity with the natural beauty of the site.” This philosophy guides the team at San Francisco-based practice Walker Warner Architects, who designed this 5,590-square-foot residence on Hawaii’s Big Island. Previously the site of a working ranch, it has become a holiday retreat surrounded by a mix of lava and bunch grass with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, adjacent to the cinder cone Pu’u Kuili.
Designed as a modern interpretation of a classic Hawaiian summer camp, the residence consists of six structures—each called a hale, or “house” in Hawaiian, combined to create a kauhale (or “camp”)—all connected by a large central lawn.
The main living space comprises the cedar-clad, light-filled kitchen with a breakfast bar and wooden cabinets; and a dining area, family room and master suite. Sliding doors provide a seamless indoor-outdoor lifestyle—which is also highlighted by the deep roof overhangs—opening to the protected courtyard.
The adjacent pool and tiki bar, two guest hales, a wash house and a garage complement the project. Throughout the whole property, openness and privacy are subtly intertwined and perfectly balanced. The pool area, with its cabana that hosts a lounge, bar and outdoor kitchen (as well as the outdoor dining area on the other side) invites visitors to relax, admire the natural landscape and spend time together in a peaceful environment.
Incorporating centuries-old indigenous design elements and materials, such as intentionally rustic board-formed concrete, locally sourced stone and western red cedar, which resists termites and dry rot, the project features enduring design at its heart.
While David Y. Tamura Associates was in charge of the landscaping, Philpotts Interiors helmed the interior spaces. Warm and spacious, the living areas feature vintage elements and a restrained palette with touches of bright colors in a laid-back, cozy atmosphere.
The residence reflects a classic Hawaii feel, yet it also has contemporary features, making it comfortable and adaptable to future generations. “I like to think our buildings are a lot like my favorite Patagonia jacket: thoughtfully designed, carefully purposed, well detailed and crafted using appropriately sourced materials,” says Greg Warner, principal at Walker Warner Architects.
“Ideally, our work is original, timeless and not trendy and, overall, feels just right when you are in it.” walkerwarner.com
Twentieth owner Stefan Lawrence has always existed in the creative space. “I grew up in an artistic home with work from both my parents on display,” he says. “From my earliest memories I was encouraged to participate and went on to receive a BFA in college.” After working as a commercial and editorial photographer in New York, Lawrence moved to Los Angeles, and founded the design gallery whose name was inspired by the mid-century modern aesthetic in 1999.
Since then, the gallery has evolved considerably, and in 2014, moved to a new building designed in collaboration with renowned L.A.-based architect Neil Denari, which marked a transition away from mid-century work and shifted its focus entirely to contemporary design.
Even before Twentieth’s complete transition to contemporary design, Lawrence was relentless in his search for new talent starting with Moooi, Tom Dixon, Established & Sons, and Droog in the early 2000s, and continuing today with emerging designers such as Christopher Boots, Julian Mayor, Bec Brittain and Videre Licet, among others.
Asked how he chooses the creative minds who are represented by Twentieth, Lawrence says, “We look for designers who are exploring new forms, new materials, and who have developed a refined vision that we feel has relevance to the international design community.”
And while Lawrence stays abreast of the changes in the design world, he has also witnessed first-hand the local market’s evolution over the past two decades. “Los Angeles has evolved from a Hollywood town to becoming a destination for creative people in many fields, not only as a place to visit but to relocate to,” he explains. “There has been an enormous influx of artists and creators here in the past five years, and a lot of the focus on culture in the United States is shifting from New York City to Los Angeles as a result.”
Always working on new concepts and projects, Twentieth expanded in 2016 with an exhibition space next door called THE NEW, co-curated by artist Daniele Albright, who was instrumental in bringing contemporary design to Twentieth as co-creative director since 2000. Rotating exhibitions are presented throughout the year with limited-edition pieces that reflect the blurred line between art and design.
THE NEW is currently showcasing works by Mattia Biagi—on view until May 15—and, starting June 1, will feature a series of rugs from Swedish rug company Henzel Studio designed by contemporary artists such as Marilyn Minter, Helmut Lang and Richard Prince.
With this space, “planning new exhibitions is an ongoing part of the development process and creates a dynamic of constant change and evolution,” says Lawrence. “We’ve been proud to have been a part of the evolution of Los Angeles as a city relevant to the international design community.” twentieth.net
While this house was built in 2007, its architecture and interior design clearly references Californian Modernism. It’s one of the reasons why Ron Radziner loves it so much. A design partner at Marmol Radziner, he has worked on the restoration of iconic midcentury projects, including the Palm Springs residence that partially inspired his own dwelling: Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House. For example, Radziner decided to use natural materials, such as polished concrete floor, and created a seamless connection to the outdoors.
Located in California’s trendy Venice, the light-filled property was the peaceful refuge where Radziner, his wife—graphic designer Robin Cottle—and their daughter and son made their home (before moving to Mandeville Canyon a couple of years ago).
Divided into three sections, the H-shaped house comprises two main structures situated on the outer edges of the lot: On the south, the one-story structure hosts a great room that consists of a living room and dining room; on the north, the two-story building contains a family room, office and utility rooms on the ground floor, as well as four second-floor bedrooms.
Covered by a landscaped roof, the sunken kitchen in the center acts as a bridge between the public and private areas. The hub of the house, this space offers views of the pool, side yard and rear of the property.
“From the exterior, the kitchen is shaped by a bronze anodized aluminum box that emphasizes its significance and provides contrast to the plaster façade found on the main volumes of the residence,” says Radziner.
Inside, the architect designed most of furniture to fit the needs and tastes of the family. Neutral and earthy tones prevail. Sliding 11-foot-high glass doors in the main living spaces open to the swimming pool, which runs the length of the living room, offering a sense of openness and free-flow throughout.
The family’s love for the outdoors shines through the home’s layout, which was intentionally designed to blur interior and exterior, while encouraging time spent in outside spaces, just as much as those indoors.
Radziner confesses that he loves the idea of living in a tent under the stars with a campfire burning. However, the comfort of his previous home—which integrates California native plants and Oak trees—is what made him happy and relaxed day after day. marmol-radziner.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: JOE FLETCHER
With the LA Design Festival just around the corner (June 20-23) and a vibrant art scene—highlighted by the first edition of the city’s Frieze art fair last February—Los Angeles is well into its rebirth as a vibrant cultural and creative destination. Another testament to this movement is the new showroom for Graye, a design and lifestyle atelier born from founder and creative director Maria Cicione’s passion for modern European design.
Previously located in Robertson Boulevard and accessible to the outside world (trade and public) by appointment only, the showroom finds new life in a 7,000-square-foot space at the heart of Hollywood’s Design District, and is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (plus on Saturdays, also by appointment).
For the Jan. 30 inauguration, Cicione displayed the limited edition Ossimori created by Milan-based Studiopepe (helmed by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto), which consists of a collection of mirrors, lamps and sculptures that study and juxtapose different yet complementary materials.
Filled with furniture, lighting and art, the warehouse-style showroom has an industrial feel thanks to its concrete floor and exposed brick walls coated in black. Among the brands exclusively distributed by Graye are MDF Italia, Porada, de Castelli, Linteloo, Gratz Archive and Porro, the last of which Graye maintains the largest collection in the United States. Atelier de Troupe, Glas Italia and Bosa—to name only a few—are some of the other manufacturers with products available at Graye.
In addition to selling products, Graye offers custom services and project management for interior design and architecture projects, space planning and layout, post-purchase support for care and maintenance, and decorative and architectural lighting, supporting the brand’s objective of contributing to the flourishing design culture of Los Angeles. graye-la.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF MINH TRAN
Surrounded by the desert and nestled in the Coachella Valley, the Sands Hotel & Spa is worth the trip. Ideally located near El Paseo Shopping District—often described as the Rodeo Drive of the desert—and adjacent to the popular live music and restaurant venue The Nest, the first boutique hotel in Indian Wells is the result of a successful collaboration between PRG Hospitality Group and interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard.
The team already has a number of unique hospitality projects under its belt, including the Holiday House in Palm Springs and Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa in Laguna Beach. For this project, the challenge consisted of completely remodeling a late 1950s-era property. New buildings were added to the existent structure and renovations took place both outside and inside. On the exterior, the pink backdrop sets the tone for what is discovered inside the hotel.
The rich color palette features emerald greens and deep blues, as well as black-and-white details. “The one rule I’ve always stuck to is be honest,” says Bullard. “There’s no point in creating a decorative scheme on or around something you don’t believe in. . . . To be a straight shooter is always the best policy. Then you know where you stand and can create something beautiful together.” Precisely like this project.
Moroccan influences that are visible throughout the hotel combine with midcentury heritage, and the contemporary aesthetic that pervades the spaces. Different color combinations, bespoke furniture and custom textiles make each one of the 46 guest rooms—including two suites and one bi-level presidential suite—unique.
Acqua di Parma bath essentials, Revival New York bed linens and Sonifi entertainment systems provide the highest level of comfort while the private patios or balconies—many adorned with Moroccan fountains—offer peaceful views of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountain ranges.
The highest level and biggest suite (approximately 1,000 square feet) is Le Riad, which refers to traditional palaces in Morocco used by royalty and the elite class. Spread over two stories, it comprises two outdoor patios, one balcony, a full size kitchen, billiards table, professional dressing/makeup vanity and an in-room soaking tub at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom, allowing guests to experience true luxury.
Bullard also took care of the public spaces, which feature a pool deck and a private wedding garden. In the Pink Cabana restaurant helmed by chef Jason Niederkorn—who prepares Mediterranean cuisine with Moroccan influence—a tropical, fresh atmosphere inspired by 1950s- and 1960s-era Palm Springs is achieved through the colorful wallpaper and chairs, as well as the green and white tiles on the floor that complement the pink ceiling and booths.
After entering through a serene and olive tree-lined garden walkway that leads to the spa, guests discover a charming relaxation area decorated with lanterns, mirrors, metal accents and patterned decorative elements. Glamorous and exotic, colorful and crisp, the Sands Hotel & Spa reinvents different aesthetic codes without fear of eclecticism. sandshotelandspa.com
With Modernism Week behind us, and the memory of Coachella gathering dust, The Rug Company presents an opportunity to capture a little of that Joshua Tree magic with its desert-inspired Endurance Collection. Launched in L.A., with a swanky party at the La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, the line that draws much of its local allure from its indoor-outdoor sensibility, expresses a Desert Modernism ideal and the clean lines of midcentury Palm Springs.
Whether placed inside or outside, the hardwearing floorcoverings in this collection, while united in their inspiration, are also distinct, striking a vibrant note in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments. Beautifully, it is designed to weather both—the floor of an outdoor cabana for cocktails and canapés, perhaps?
Or, just as appealing, an airy entry, or conservatory-inspired, succulent-filled sunroom, even a refreshingly modern playroom. In such settings, as well as countless others, these rugs flex, and are at home in a variety of different architectural styles. Such is the versatility of the collection.
While the desert can be a barren, hostile place, The Rug Company clearly envisions it as an oasis. Among the line’s hand-woven, artisan-made performance options, all feature stain-repellent Perrenials’ performance yarn, which is 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic technology that allows the colors to infuse the yarn to its core.
This means that the rugs are resistant to fading and able to withstand the elements of their domestic environment (mold, mildew, water). The line’s durable designs make a splash beyond the poolside patio to include heavy-trafficked interior spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom. Given its attributes, the collection as a whole presents a stunning alternative in the outdoor category.
Resilience aside, the Endurance Collection is aesthetically refined and engenders a garden party feel from afar and underfoot. Like sunrise or sunset, the colors of these floorcoverings shift from soft and calming tones like light blue, rosy pink and canyon-sand neutral to punched-up red and dark gray shades, reflected by the options “Cabo,” “Vista,” “Culver Terracotta,” “Pacific,” “Laguna,” “Marina,” “Mirage” and more.
The line’s most notable namesake is of particular interest to local design lovers—iconic Modernist architect Richard Neutra. Featuring the same hues and motifs of midcentury California, the geometrically interesting “Neutra” telegraphs aesthetic explorations of and connection to nature, and also flaunts The Rug Company’s penchant for richly rendered patterns.
Endurance Collection’s 12 motifs also include stripes of varying thickness, a kind of elongated ombre, and abstractions of shapes. Available in various sizes, $53/square foot, at The Rug Company showrooms. therugcompany.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF ANN CHATILLON
One is forgiven for thinking this design hails from a Hollywood backlot—its owner, after all, is a film producer. But this is no set piece from a sci-fi picture, though it is a blockbuster, a genre-breaking design by architect James Whitaker of London-based Whitaker Studio.
“In the spring of 2017, my client in LA had some friends visiting and, having a little time to spare, they all went on a road trip to visit the client’s plot of land in Joshua Tree,” Whitaker remembers.
“Whilst there, amongst the arid landscape and jutting rocks, one of the friends said, ‘You know what would look great here?’” She opened her laptop and showed the group a photo. “The picture was of an office that I’d designed several years ago but had never been built,” says Whitaker. The next time the client was in London, he rang Whitaker and asked to meet up.
The meeting would result in the Joshua Tree Residence, a structure made from shipping containers that fan out from its site on a mountainside where it nestles into the landscape close to the national park. “Each container is orientated to maximize views across the landscape or to use the topography to provide privacy, depending on their individual use,” explains Whitaker, noting that the car garage is roofed in solar panels to provide power for the house.
The material palette—walls are painted white plaster, the floor is polished concrete—is deliberately simple to make way for “the main event.” The shipping containers and the space they create. “Everything else is secondary to that,” says Whitaker, explaining that each container is positioned to frame views out across the landscape or use the topography of the land to screen the house and provide privacy; those pointing skyward minimize direct sunlight while connecting each space with the outside. “Really this is what I enjoy the most about this project, the taking of something highly generic and transportable, and turning it into something very unique and site specific.”
The design represents a new architectural frontier, but for Whitaker it’s merely work. While he admits to having “no appetite for producing the same stuff as everyone else,” he does not consider his work experimental or conceptual.
He starts with the fundamentals of all good architecture—the views, how it feels to be in a space, how light reacts with form—then expands his thinking, which in the case of this project was to consider, “how can we re-purpose this into something that is unique and original?”
Did Whitaker see this architectural comet coming? “Not at all. I had no idea that it would have such universal appeal,” says Whitaker, who will need the entirety of his architectural references—including Herzog and de Meuron, OMA, John Pawson, Frank Gehry, and Richard Rogers—to complete a series of new projects from an office building in Spain, to the master planning of a new town in the Caribbean, to a house project in Iceland. He’s done the desert, why not ice?
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF WHITAKER STUDIO
It’s a good time to be selling BoDesign in Southern California. The region’s current bend towards Modernist and Contemporary design means there are countless spaces awaiting the brand’s clean-lined furnishings, as practical as they are urbane, and with the ability to look as au courant today as they likely will for decades to come.
“I just spoke with an architect a few minutes ago,” says Stephanie Duval, franchisee of BoConcept’s Los Angeles and Costa Mesa stores along with her husband Stephane. “She said she bought furniture from BoConcept for a project 15 years ago.” So impressed was the architect with the quality of the pieces, recounts Duval, she was turning to BoConcept once again, to furnish a new project.
Started in the early 1950s by two Danish cabinetmakers, BoConcept has grown to nearly 300 stores internationally, with consumer demand, says Duval, driven by the love of the brand’s “functionality, design, and quality.” Cost is another.
“We are an affordable luxury,” she points out. “Our price point is excellent.” Customers, notes Duval, include those looking to furnish their homes, along with professionals who turn to BoConcept for pieces to adorn boutique hotels, restaurants and corporate spaces. “What architects and designers love about our brand,” she says, “is the fact that we customize, and are so modular that it’s very easy for businesses to use our products.”
It’s this mix of pragmatic design, sophisticated image—BoConcept pieces are often sculptural in look—and the ability for buyers to customize to their heart’s content that is at the core of BoConcept’s calling card and appeal.
When browsing for a new sofa, for instance, one can select the shade and fabric: textured wool, corded velvet and soft leather from South African cowhides are among the substantial options. Materials, Duval divulges, are sourced from around the world, and among them is wood from Canada, fabric from Italy and leather from South America.
Finding the ideal furniture and accessories for one’s space, however, is the province of an interior designer. Someone who understands the interplay of scale, daily use, color and personal style, among other factors, when it comes to selecting the right pieces.
For this, BoConcept offers an in-home designer service. “First, we have a talk with our customer to really understand what they’re looking for,” says Duval of the process. Her team of design consultants studies how customers live and learn what they like. “We don’t sell a piece of furniture,” she remarks. “We sell a concept.”
It’s a concept that translates fluidly across geography, architectural styles, and home size. A modular design, such as the popular Amsterdam, for example, can morph from a sofa to a coffee table, serve as a sectional for the entire family, or as seating for two.
And as one’s place called home evolves, from that first shoebox apartment to a full-fledged house, purchases from BoConcept travel with their owners, and can be seamlessly expanded. A two-seater sofa might be amended with a matching corner sofa, an ottoman, or other complementary pieces from the brand’s expansive collection of design furniture, lighting, and accessories. “You can furnish a very small place in Asia or furnish a huge home in California,” says Duval of the brand’s seemingly endless options. “It’s very exciting.” boconcept.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF BOCONCEPT