Should my elevator look like my soda can?
Both are metal containers, but ... Is this really a thing yet?
Over the past year, I've noticed a wonderful design trend in product packaging in boutique retail shops across the country. I wasn't sure it was a "thing" yet because it was mostly on consumable goods – cans, bottles, bags, wrappers, tins, boxes – disposable things that are not meant to stand the test of time.
But at the most recent Urban Land Institute fall meeting in LA, this new design aesthetic was everywhere, and most notably in big, billion-dollar real estate developments – which by its very nature is the opposite of a consumable, disposable, short-lived product.
Walls, floors and doors.
I was late to get to a meeting at The BLOC LA in downtown Los Angeles, and as I rushed to get on the elevator, I was instantly happy. Bright glossy elevator walls with fun patterned floors. It was like stepping into one of the soda cans I saw earlier in the day.
Fifteen blocks away, bold was on display at the LA outpost of Hauser & Wirth: "EXIT DOOR (IN GOLD WE TRUST)", 2023. In the first Los Angeles solo exhibition by Mexican-German artist Stefan Brüggemann, this gold leaf door set in a grey room bright bright red carpet and it stuck me in the same way as the elevators at the BLOC.
"She's very maximalist."
On a different property tour at The Wesley in Hollywood Park, I was struck again – but this time, the patterns crept up from the floors to the walls. When I pressed our guide, who was the architect, he described the interior designer as a "maximalist." There was definitely a big effect, but somehow it wasn't overwhelming. As I was walking through the property though, I couldn't help but wonder – is this too trendy? Will it last longer than a few years? In 2030 when people tour the property will it feel dated?
One of my favorite moments was this wallpaper -- when you get close, the pattern is full of life.
Thousands of miles east, these photos are from several different retail stores in NYC. Top left: Incotex in SoHo; top right: Anthropologie in Chelsea. Retail displays are supposed to be trendy because they need to grab our attention and compel us to buy.
Should my home or office feel as disposable as my trendy soda?
The big, bold, colorful aesthetic has been a trend in consumables for a while, especially in beverages. For developers to keep up with (soda) pop culture, they need to be prepared to spend a lot of money on design. I don't know if this is profitable for real estate, but it definitely will be for interior designers.
As a bonus...
In a massive collision of ideas, let's add everything together:
"billion-dollar real estate development"
What do you get?
Welcome to the Champagne Bar at SoFi Stadium.