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Color Study at The Webster LA

Designed by David Adjaye, the LA location of high-end shopping experience the Webster is the architect’s first project in the Golden State, and a Brutalism-lover’s dream.

By Rachel Gallaher

Images by Laurian Ghinitoiu

As seen in Issue 56

Inspired by the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán, David Adjaye designed this Los Angeles location of the Webster—multibrand luxury retailer—with the use of bold color in mind. The inner wall of the pink-tinted entrance façade doubles as a screen onto which large-scale digital artworks are projected. “With all my work I seek a connection to place, to create an experience that endears people,” Adjaye says.

For his first project in California—the sixth location of the Miami-based luxury retailer the Webster—architect David Adjaye looked to an icon before he sat down to sketch. Design lovers will note that the shopping destination’s neo-Brutalist façade, part of the newly reimagined Beverly Center, is a distinct tip of the hat to one of Mexico’s most acclaimed architects.

“I contemplated the Beverly Center’s history and trajectory,” Adjaye says, “and then I thought about the idea of California and my love for the great [architect] Luis Barragán and his ingenious and passionate use of bold colors. I think of Los Angeles and Mexico City as twin cities. They’re of the same world to me.”

“It was important to me to set a new standard for material use in fashion because retail spaces are often made with too many materials. It’s so wasteful. I wanted to see if I could use a singular material and colorway (as a background to the vibrant merchandise), which we then recreated in several ways to evoke various visual and tactile modes for people to experience.” —David Adjaye, architect

The inner wall of the curving, pink-tinted-concrete storefront doubles as a screen onto which large-scale digital artworks are projected, and an unexpected oculus gives shoppers a glimpse of the LA sky. A commissioned piece from artist Kahlil Joseph is currently on view. The pink tones continue inside the building, where thick, curved forms create display cases for merchandise and mannequins.

“In the last few years, I’ve worked with many saturated reds and pinks reminiscent of my color experiments earlier in my career,” Adjaye explains. “I wanted to design something that was simultaneously rugged and gentle. So, you get the ruggedness from the brutal, durable concrete, but it’s softened by the pink dye, which speaks to fashion and praises the California light.”


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