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    Lovers Unite revives interiors of mid-century Silver Lake home

    California design studio Lovers Unite has reinvigorated a 1950s home with sweeping views of the Los Angeles hills, turning an unused balcony into an extension of the indoor social space.

    The wooden dwelling in LA’s Silver Lake neighbourhood belongs to production designer James Chinlund and artist Clare Crespo.
    Lovers Unite renovated the home for a creative couple in Los AngelesA “previously a boring, nondescript mid-century house”, according to Lovers Unite, the property required some imagination to bring its interiors up to par with its setting.
    Therefore, the studio “introduced a few carefully plotted architectural interventions and material shifts to completely reimagine the interior of the home and take full advantage of its prime site”.
    The house has expansive views over the city’s hillsThe most impactful of these interventions was to bring an underutilised balcony at the back of the house into the envelope, extending the open-plan living and dining area by several feet.

    Beneath the large windows that were installed to fill the gap, Lovers Unite placed built-in seating with teal-upholstered cushions for relaxing and enjoying the panoramic vista.
    Plenty of wood was used throughout the home, particularly in the kitchen”With a large window wall and generous built-in banquette, the room finally celebrates the expansive views that had always been there,” the studio said.
    In the kitchen, dark green soapstone used for counters and the backsplash contrasts with the honey-toned cabinetry, and a shiny copper range hood matches a panel installed at the back of a bar area on the opposite side of the room.
    The honey-toned wood contrasts with soapstone surfaces and a copper range hoodElsewhere, colourful furnishings, collectible design pieces and bold artworks stand out against the predominantly wood interiors.
    A timber-lined lounge area features the classic modular Togo sofa system by Michael Ducaroy, which is wrapped in yellow corduroy fabric.

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    Meanwhile, in the den, a purple armchair is positioned beside a giant chair that Chinlund used as a prop for a shoot by Italian fashion outfit Roberto Cavalli.
    Wood slats were employed to partially screen the staircase opening on the upper level, next to a central fireplace with a raised hearth.
    As part of the renovation, an unused balcony was incorporated into the social space and a long window seat was installed in its placeOther decor items like vintage rugs, embroidered cushions and plenty of art and design books add even more character to the spaces.
    “Ultimately, the mood of the home reflects the spirit and talents of the estimable homeowner,” said Lovers Unite, noting that Chinlund has worked as a production designer for the Avengers movie franchise.
    Colourful furniture and set props are scattered through the different roomsSilver Lake is home to a variety of architectural gems, many built on dramatically sloping sites, including residences designed by notable mid-century architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler.
    Led by Karen Spector and Alan Koch, Lovers Unite is based close to the neighbourhood, and has previously wrapped a bar and restaurant in Pasadena with expressive drapery.
    The photography is by Chris Mottalini.

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    Cafe Kitsuné Los Angeles features Parisian-style interiors with “Japanese twist”

    Paris-based lifestyle brand Kitsuné has opened a cafe next to its boutique in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, both with minimalist interiors featuring white oak and stainless steel.

    The interiors of the new Cafe Kitsuné and the renovated Maison Kitsuné store were designed by co-founder Masaya Kuroki to reflect the brand’s French-Japanese culture as well as the West Coast setting.
    The Cafe Kitsuné interior includes a mural by Jeffrey Sinich that imagines the space as an old-school marketFacing Sunset Boulevard on the east side of the city, this is the brand’s fourth cafe in North America – following locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Vancouver – and its first in LA.
    “A sprawling city of diverse findings, from cutting-edge restaurants to pockets of art and architecture second to none, LA has lent design inspiration and a backdrop to several campaigns for the fashion house,” said the Kitsuné team.
    White oak tables and surfaces are set against stainless steel counters and panelling for a minimalist look”Now, it’s the perfect setting for Café Kitsuné, a physical extension of the brand’s Franco-Japanese DNA, and reinvention of the classic Parisian cafe and wine bar experience with a Japanese twist,” they added.

    The building’s red-tile exterior and poured concrete flooring were preserved, and hand-painted signage by Californian artist Jeffrey Sincich was added over the large street-facing windows.
    Burnt orange dining chairs and upholstered benches highlight the colours of the muralInside the 700-square-foot (65-square-metre) cafe, white oak tables and brushed stainless-steel counters feature alongside burnt orange dining chairs and upholstered benches.
    Another Sincich mural covers the full length of a wall, offering “a whimsical take on Café Kitsuné’s standard appearance” and presenting the space as an “old-school market”.

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    A speaker system by Japanese audio company Rotel was installed in the cafe “to provide a top-notch sound experience for customers”, according to Kitsuné.
    Next door in the boutique, a similar material palette is used for elements including a built-in storage and display unit across the back wall.
    The existing Maison Kitsuné boutique next door has also received a refreshWhite oak forms the framing, shelves and doors that lead to the stock and fitting rooms, while ribbed stainless-steel sheets provide a backdrop for the items on show.
    More oak was used for the minimalist service counter and panelling behind, and a bright blue table sits in the centre to add a pop of colour.
    White oak and stainless steel are repeated in this space to create a visual connection with the cafeKitsuné was founded by 2002 by Kuroki and Gildas Loaëc and encompasses the fashion brand, Maison Kitsuné; a music label, Kitsuné Musique; and its line of cafes, bars and restaurants.
    Back in 2017, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur designed the Kitsuné store interior in New York’s Soho, adding snaking metal rails for displaying garments.
    The photography is by David Kitz.

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    Jialun Xiong highlights “intricacies and textures” at Sichuanese restaurant in LA

    Subtle nods to traditional Chinese architecture can be found throughout this restaurant in California, designed by LA-based Jialun Xiong.

    Sichuan Impression’s third outpost, located in Alhambra, occupies a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-metre) space that “takes an elegantly pared-down approach to family-style dining”.
    Jialun Xiong chose a pared-back palette for the Sichuan Impression interiors, creating a relaxed atmosphereJialun Xiong took an equally relaxed approach to the interiors, combining warm and soft colours with walnut furniture and metal accents.
    “For Sichuan Impression, I chose a muted palette and natural materials to encourage guests to look a little longer and see the intricacies and textures that aren’t so obvious at first glance,” said Xiong.
    A free-seating area beside the bar features walnut furniture and floating metal cabinetsThe restaurant is roughly divided into four dining areas, each open to one another but defined by the style of seating.

    To the left of the entrance is a sequence of partitions that alternate between heavy grey plaster and delicate metal mesh screens supported by antique brass frames.
    Plaster partitions separate the various sections of the restaurantEach has a circular opening, which align to provide a continuous view along the minimalist walnut tables and benches that run along the same axis.
    One table extends through an opening, accommodating larger parties when needed, and each compartment features an oversized, raw silk cloth light shade suspended above.
    Walls and screens of different heights and thickness create a hierarchy of spaces”The custom chandeliers nod to traditional Chinese lanterns and reflect Xiong’s skeletal furniture designs,” said the restaurant team.
    In front of the bar is a free-seating space furnished with more wooden tables and chairs, which match the cabinetry against the far wall, while glass-fronted metal cabinets are mounted above.

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    A pair of chunky plaster-wrapped columns and low partitions separate a collection of booths with leather seats and upholstered cushioned backs on the other side.
    The green fabric was chosen to resemble bamboo – a common material used in Sichuanese design.
    Booth seating is upholstered with a green fabric chosen to evoke bambooAt the back of the restaurant is the private dining area, which can accommodate 16 guests altogether, or two groups of eight when a sliding partition is closed.
    A circular window offers a glimpse into the private space, where the pared-back material palette is continued.
    A private dining room at the back has an intimate feel and can be spied through a circular window”The secluded space is designed to feel like home with its bespoke circular dining table and ambient lighting,” said Xiong. “I believe good design doesn’t always have to be instantly recognisable, it can simply blend in.”
    Xiong, who is originally from Chongqing, has also completed the retro-futuristic Chinese restaurant 19 Town close to Downtown LA. The designer recently showed her furniture and lighting pieces as part of the INTRO/LA showcase in November 2023, and at the Alcova exhibition during Art Basel in Miami in December.

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    PlayLab Inc centres “space for conversation” in Los Angeles retail store

    LA studio PlayLab Inc has created a flagship store that contains a sky blue conversation pit at its centre for local clothing brand MadHappy.

    PlayLab Inc split the West Hollywood store into two distinct zones – one for retail space and the other for “intimate gathering spaces”, including a cafe and a courtyard.
    PlayLab Inc has created a flagship store for LA clothing brand MadHappy”Our collective goal with the design was to put space for conversation at the heart of the retail experience, creating a place that is equal parts for community dialogue and product,” PlayLab Inc co-founder Jeff Franklin told Dezeen.
    “To do this we split the space down the middle, making one half a clear utility for shopping and the other a collection of intimate gathering spaces.”
    The space was divided into separate zones for gathering and retailVisitors enter the 2,800-square-foot (260-square-metre) store through a glass facade, which leads into a large open space with powder blue concrete flooring running throughout.

    At the entrance, a blue bench emerges from a small exterior porch, while a boulder sits opposite.
    A cafe and courtyard were placed at the back of the storeTowards one side, the store contains a 70’s style conversation pit underneath a large skylight. Plush, sky-blue couches line the seating area, with satin aluminium side tables by Berlin-based studio New Tendency placed alongside them.
    Along an adjacent limewashed wall, the studio installed built-in shelving flanked by large custom wooden speakers by New York music studio designer Danny Keith Taylor of House Under Magic.
    The courtyard was populated with a single tree and green-stained plywood stools by Waka WakaThe social area leads into a small open-air courtyard populated by a single Tree Aloe installed by Cactus Store and green-stained plywood stools by LA studio Waka Waka.
    The same green plywood was used to line the takeout window of the store’s Pantry cafe, which sits in an enclosed corner and serves local and global cuisines from brands including Japanese-based café Hotel Drugs and LA bakery Courage Bagels.
    Custom signage was installed along the cafe’s takeout windowA custom lightbox and a large standing menu were installed next to the takeout window to display the cafe’s signage and goods.
    In the remaining interior, PlayLab Inc created a large metallic “retail bar” that spans the shop’s length for “open views of the product”, according to Franklin. The studio also dispersed custom Lego-like benches around the space, which were covered in a candy apple red gloss.
    The store will act as a retail space and venueFaux-stone stools and a bench were installed throughout the space.
    The store also contains a multimedia room, called the Local Optimist Space, a creative venue that will host audio and visual artwork.

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    “The design was inspired by the concept of conversation between things – a balance of scales, materials and textures,” said Franklin.
    This is the first flagship store for the clothing brand MadHappy, which previously operated from a host of pop-up concepts and stores.
    Local designers worked on furniture and other pieces for the store”From the beginning, physical retail has been essential to Madhappy and its success. We’ve always viewed our shops as spaces that go beyond something purely transactional – we want them to allow our community to engage with Madhappy beyond what’s possible digitally,” MadHappy co-founder Mason Spector said in a statement.
    Other recent projects by PlayLab Inc also include a plexiglass skatepark for Vans and a lifesize toy racetrack set for a Louis Vuitton menswear show.
    The photography is by Sean Davidson.

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    Kelly Wearstler designs Ulla Johnson store to capture the “spirit of southern California”

    American interior designer Kelly Wearstler has paired a towering tree with speckled burl wood panelling and vintage furniture by Carlo Scarpa at the Ulla Johnson flagship store in West Hollywood.

    Wearstler created the light-filled, two-storey shop as the flagship Los Angeles location for Johnson’s eponymous clothing brand.
    Kelly Wearstler has designed the interiors for Ulla Johnson’s LA flagshipThe duo worked together to envisage the sandy-hued interiors, which Wearstler described as “something that really speaks to LA”.
    “A priority for me and Ulla was to ensure that the showroom encapsulated the quintessence of the West Coast, firmly grounded in both the surrounding environment and local community,” the designer told Dezeen.
    The “Californian idea of merging indoor and outdoor” permeates the interiorVisitors enter the store via a “secret” patio garden lined with desert trees and shrubs rather than on Beverly Boulevard, where the original entrance was.

    “This Californian idea of merging indoor and outdoor is evident from the moment you approach the store,” said Wearstler, who explained that her designs tend to nod to the “natural world”.
    Wearstler designed textured interiors to reflect Johnson’s collectionsInside, three interconnected, open-plan spaces on the ground floor were dressed with textured interiors that mirror Johnson’s similarly rich collections, which hang from delicate clothing rails throughout the store.
    Standalone jewellery display cases by Canadian artist Jeff Martin feature in the cavernous accessories space. Clad with peeling ribbons of grooved, caramel-coloured tiles, the cases echo floor-to-ceiling speckled burl wood panels.
    The mezzanine includes a double-height treeThe other living room-style area was designed as a sunroom with a pair of boxy 1970s Cornaro armchairs by modernist Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, as well as parquet flooring with Rosa Corallo stone inlay.
    “Vintage pieces are infused into all of my projects and I enjoy experimenting with the dialogues created by placing these alongside contemporary commissions,” explained Wearstler.
    A lumpy resin table features in an upstairs loungeThe largest of the three spaces, the mezzanine is illuminated by skylights and houses a double-height Brachychiton – a tree that also features in the designer’s own Malibu home.
    A chunky timber staircase leads to the upper level, where another lounge was finished in burnt orange and cream-coloured accents including a lumpy marbelised resin coffee table by LA-based designer Ross Hansen.
    “We collaborated with a variety of local artisans to imbue the spirit of Southern California into every facet of the project,” said Wearstler.

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    Ribbed plaster walls and textured flooring line a fitting room close by, which was created to evoke a residential feeling, according to the designer.
    “We wanted people to feel at home in the store so we prioritised warm and inviting elements,” she said.
    Another striking display cabinet made from wavy burl wood evokes “a touch of 1970s California nostalgia”.
    Wavy burl wood evokes “a touch of 1970s California nostalgia”The Ulla Johnson store is also used as a community space, which hosts rotating art installations, talks with guest speakers and other events.
    Wearstler recently designed an eclectic cocktail bar at the Downtown LA Proper hotel, which she previously created the wider interiors for. Her portfolio also features a 1950s beachfront cottage renovation in Malibu.
    The photography is by Adrian Gaut. 

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    Adi Goodrich and Sam Klemick among exhibitors at INTRO/LA

    Curated by design consultancy Small Office, this year’s INTRO/LA features sculptural furniture from local designers such as Adi Goodrich, Sam Klemick and Jialun Xiong.

    The exhibition is being shown in Small Office’s Los Angeles showroom, with pieces displayed among semi-transparent dividers.
    Pieces by Los Angeles designers Adi Goodrich, Sam Klemick, Jialun Xiong and more are on display at INTRO/LAIt showcases both emerging and established Los Angeles designers.
    “The show is to display how diverse the community is, and how everyone’s working in different styles and production methods and materials,” Small Office founder Paul Valentine told Dezeen.
    For the first time, the exhibition is hosted at the showroom at Small Office, which runs the event. On the left is a collection by Estudio Persona and on the right is a collection by Adi Goodrich”[It’s] really to show the expansive of creativity here, rather than zero in on one trend and say, ‘this is what’s happening’.”

    Colourful, geometric pieces from Adi Goodrich’s Sing Thing collection are on display, including multi-tiered lamps, a checkered dining chair and playful, flat-pack side tables.
    Designer Sam Klemick showcased the Sweater Chair, a simple wooden chair draped with a carved-wooden sweaterThe collection is an homage to the silhouettes and character of the French L’Esprit Nouveau movement, as well as Lina, an influential woman in Goodrich’s life who taught her “how to live”.
    Sam Klemick’s Sweater Chair and an accompanying, wiggle-legged stool sit nearby.
    Jialun Xiong’s architectural side table features geometric cut-outsRecently on display as part of 2LG Studio’s You Can Sit With Us exhibition, the Sweater Chair consists of a carved-wood sweater draped over the backrest of a chair of the same material.
    An aluminium side table inspired by “the exterior of a boxy home” by designer Jialun Xiong sits among a chair, bench and stool featuring stainless steel elements and minimalistic lines.
    Caleb Engstrom’s Wet Wool chair is made of wooden and metal pieces draped with resin-soaked woolXiong’s Dwell side table consists of a metallic cube with rectangular and circular slices taken from around its body, “representing different architectural elements to enrich the user’s experience”.
    Caleb Engstrom’s Wet Wool chair is made of resin-drenched wool draped and set to dry over metal and wood pieces, which debuted earlier this year at Los Angeles Design Festival 2023,

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    The chair sits next to a stackable side table made of rubber, lacquer and resin table bases used in Engstrom’s other pieces. One such base layer contains “faux” lemons trapped in its transparent form.
    Other work includes rustic wooden stools and lighting by Ravenhill Studio, spikey, wooden chairs and a large mirror by Objects for Objects and scalloped, ceramic planters and side tables from BZIPPY. Also on show was a collection by Leah Ring and Adam de Boer as well as studio Waka Waka, which has a production studio next door.
    The exhibition was curated to highlight the diversity of local work. The collection shown is by Taidhg O’NeillThe INTRO series was started in 2013 as a platform to showcase both emerging and established designers in contrast to the traditional trade show format. Valentine aims to create “one interior feeling” by displaying pieces from various designers in close proximity to one another for a community-oriented exhibition.
    Previous design exhibitions around Los Angeles include Future Perfect’s Dear Future show, which displayed work from Gaetano Pesce and a variety of shows at Los Angeles Design Festival 2023.
    INTRO/LA is on show at Small Office in Los Angeles until 17 November. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.
    The photography is by JJ Geiger.

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    Madera displays contemporary flooring and millwork products in Los Angeles showroom

    Design and fabrication firm Madera has unveiled its latest showroom in Los Angeles, which was designed to showcase wood flooring and millwork products and has been captured in this exclusive video produced by Dezeen.

    The West Coast hub, which is Madera’s second showroom, is located in the Arts District of Los Angeles while its flagship showroom is in New York City.

    The showroom features a selection of wood products ranging from the brand’s signature wide-plank Thrasher flooring to custom cabinetry and benches.
    The space, which was converted from a former metal foundry into a showroom, aims to encourage clients to embrace wood and view it as an essential and natural element in design.
    Madera’s made-to-order Thrasher cabinetry is displayed in a living room spaceThe entryway features bespoke Douglas fir tables and benches, while the living room space has made-to-order Thrasher cabinetry showcasing the various finishes the brand offers.
    The kitchen displays a large custom island combining Madera’s Dogwood Ash and Travertine finishes, while a nearby conference room houses the brand’s Abechi Façade cladding in black.
    The showroom kitchen features a custom island that combines Madera’s Dogwood Ash and Travertine finishesMadera’s mission is to bring the natural beauty of wood into the spaces their clients inhabit to “redefine its place in the modern home”, according to the brand.
    Its Los Angeles wood shop, where custom stair parts and millwork elements are produced, is located only a short distance from its showroom.
    Madera’s showroom is located in the Arts District of Los AngelesThe brand recently launched its Seamless Wood Design system, which aims to ensure wooden products in an interior all complement each other.
    The system was created to offer designers and homeowners a customisable option that enables them to retain the character of wood throughout an interior.
    Partnership content
    This video was produced by Dezeen for Madera as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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    ATRA outfits Olson Kundig-designed house in West Hollywood

    This townhouse in Los Angeles by US firm Olson Kundig is outfitted by furniture brand ATRA with “the best that Mexico has to offer”.

    The Garden House, which sits between West Hollywood and Beverley Hills, was designed as one of eight single-family homes that form the Rosewood Houses development.
    The interior of the Garden House is divided into two areas by a central void, which contains the staircaseEach of the two-storey residences was designed by Olson Kundig with a unique look and layout while retaining a cohesive language across the set.
    For this particular house, which is decorated for a fictional future client, Mexico City-based design studio and furniture brand ATRA used many of its own products to create an environment that complements the architecture.
    To decorate the house, ATRA used several of its own products including the dining table, along with pieces by Mexico-based artists and designers”We wanted to sublime the minimalist architecture and the simplicity of the volumes by keeping the home versatile – imagining that the owner could be a young family as well as a Hollywood actor or a tech entrepreneur and that the design should not only fit but inspire all the above,” said the ATRA team.

    From the street, the house presents as austere – comprising dark cladding materials and emphasised horizontally by an extended flat roofline and porch cover.
    The volcanic stone desk in the study is also designed by ATRAThe building is entered into a double-height space from the side, effectively splitting the plan into north and south areas.
    A staircase with open risers and glass balustrades rises up through the central void, its transparency allowing views from one side of the house to the other.
    Earth tones are used throughout the ground floor, including in the kitchenThe living room to the north is anchored by a large bronze feature that frames a fireplace, while ATRA’s Egge velvet sofa and pair of armchairs face one another across a low stone coffee table.
    On the other side of the staircase is the dining room, where the brand’s sculptural Pebble dining table sits below a branch-like chandelier by Isabel Moncada, and beside a highly textured artwork by Julio Rizhi.
    Upstairs, bolder colours are used to appear like “happy accidents””We curated the best that Mexico has to offer to enhance this house with unexpected artworks and thoughtful designs,” said Gabriella Kuti, ATRA’s lead designer.
    Earth-toned furniture and textured finishes are used prominently throughout the ground floor, including a volcanic stone desk in the study and warm wood cabinetry in the kitchen.

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    A slightly different colour palette was employed upstairs, where grey sheen walls and burgundy-hued chairs are found in the primary bedroom.
    “Some unusual warm and vibrant colors were introduced like a happy accident,” said ATRA.
    Works by international artists in the home include a wall piece by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey made from a patchwork of yellow gallon containers, and bold-striped paintings by French artist Edouard Ng.
    A private patio at the back of the house features a plunge poolTucked out of view at the back of the property, a small outdoor patio features a square plunge pool and sculptures by Pablo Arellano.
    The eventual owners of the house will also have access to the amenities of the adjacent residential tower 8899 Beverly, including a pool, a covered dining area and gardens, an indoor fitness centre and a yoga studio.
    The architecture by Olson Kundig comprises dark materials and exaggerated horizontal planesATRA also provided furniture and decor for a show apartment in New York’s One Wall Street designed by FrenchCalifornia, and launched its Nerthus-Sofa modular system in 2020.
    The company was founded by Alexander Díaz Andersson, who is also its creative director and works across furniture, sculpture, interiors and hospitality projects.
    The photography is by Michael Clifford and Nils Timm.

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