Hollywood architecture firm, 5+design, redesigns LA’s 1960s Del Amo Fashion Center, applying a museum-like regard and treatment of space and definition across 2.2 million square feet.
The reimagined project uses light, glass and elevation to create distinctive, responsive retail spaces that invite exploration. Like a museum’s galleries, Del Amo’s open design highlights the display character of retail in expansive storefronts and creates a welcoming public realm.
“We tried to soften everything with curves and arcs. Every portion of the walls and ceilings are soft, like the ocean has poured over them for years and has softened all their edges. We analyzed how one surface would end and meet the next, how then that surface turns and meets the corner, where the surface should be subtler, where it should be more pronounced, and we spent a lot of time on those details. Museums and retail are more similar than separate, retail functions much in the same way. We tried to take this exploration into gallery layout and use it as a way to elevate the often substandard retail typology.”
The new design is human centered, reinforcing the notion of connection to the surrounding area both literally and metaphorically. A living wall infuses the food court with planted foliage while open-air terraces, glass-topped atriums and rotund oculi challenge the perception of what is inside and what remains outdoors.
Designed in three phases, the renovation began with a complete redesign of the food court, which was relocated to the retail bridge that spans above Carson Boulevard. The largest of the phases, phase 2, entailed a massive demolition of the existing one story mall to the north, which was then replaced by a two story retail concourse that increases to three levels at the terrace seating. Phase two also included a new parking garage. Phase 3 will consist of further refinements to the existing southernmost mall that houses Sears to ensure cohesion throughout the phases.
At the center of the mall sits the Grand Court. It is the zone of convergence between the project’s three main components- the single-level phase 1 remodel, the phase 2 two-story new construction, and the existing two-story outdoor lifestyle village.
Taking advantage of its central location, the Grand Court is the site of an expansive, six tiered terraced seating area. Warm wooden benches sectioned off by glass panels and colorful, movable furniture allow guests to interact with the design and personalize the space. The project’s most distinct living wall hangs adjacent, interjecting greenery that coalesces with the warmth from the wooden benches.
The entire Grand Court area faces a three-story glass window box overlooking the outdoor lifestyle village and rests beneath an immense skylight that supports a rotating video screen. Envisioned to portray sand, the Grand Court’s collection of tan and beige floors meet sleek glass storefronts that reach two-stories.
A far cry from its former, the new design mixes soft and hardscape elements with airy, iridescent forms to blend the indoor and outdoor world. Intricately patterned floors reflect the light below, illuminating storefronts and contrasting with the white from walls and curved ceilings.
In its new form, the Del Amo Fashion Center presents a unified space that typifies elegant gallery-like design whose cohesion echoes from the inside out.
Location: Torrance, CA, USA
Building Area: 2.2 million sq ft
Site Area: 120 acres
Client: Simon Property Group