Design + Architecture

The World's Coolest Stores

by Gigi Guerra

Paul Smith

Location: Los Angeles

The big selling point: Its delightfully offbeat exterior—a windowless Pepto-Bismol-pink cube.

What's in store: For a dose of British designer Paul Smith's playfully offbeat aesthetic, nothing matches a visit to one of his ingeniously conceived boutiques, such as the former pharmacy that's now his Covent Garden store. The most inventive of the bunch is located smack in the middle of Los Angeles' famed Melrose Avenue shopping strip. Designers Barnard & Wilson were inspired by the spare, high-desert dwellings of Pritzker-winning Mexican architect Luis Barragán when creating this giant bubblegum-pink box. There are no details to interrupt its jarring simplicity, save for a door on one side and a long rectangular glass window, and it easily stands out among the endless blocks of generic glass-fronted facades. Inside, the 5,000-square-foot space is designed with a nod to the moviemaking industry that powers L.A.—it's set up like a studio, with a series of disparate sets. To add cohesiveness, each section has a particular focus—the men's suiting area, for example, is an intimate, masculine space with wood-paneled walls, chandeliers, and an enormous abstract painting of a rabbit—and unity is maintained throughout with simple white walls, reclaimed wood floors, and wood-beam ceilings.

Rub shopping shoulders with: Fans of Smith's eclectic garments (including Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman), curious Fred Segal shoppers who have wandered across the street.

Treat yourself: A London pinstripe suit, $1600; a gilded Thomas Goode striped china teapot, $365.

Paul Smith
8221 Melrose Ave.
Tel: 323 951 4800

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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