Over the weekend I stopped into thew new A.P.C. flagship shop, a space that’s nestled between buzzing Melrose Ave. and the sleepy Melrose Place. The area is dotted with high-end boutiques — such as the lavish Alexander McQueen to the iconically pink Paul Smith – but when you walk into the new A.P.C. it feels like you’ve escaped to a warm, summer retreat. What used to be an old antique shop has been transformed into something comfortable, spacious, and well-considered, with a thoughtful mix of architecture and vegetation.
The central plot features a luxuriously planted garden of Californian natives and is framed by a very large window, spanning 59 ft across 3 sides supported by diagonal wooden columns. In every sense it becomes the true heart of the structure. Ceramic brick, commissioned specifically for this project, is used for the floor and acts as a homage to the Hispanic history of Los Angeles, while providing extra light in its reflective nature. It also remains cool to the touch, important to the boutique where air conditioning is kept at a minimum.
The floor also unifies the space, where 3 presentation spaces are created by playing with the differing volumes inherent to the building. Ceilings range from a 20 ft cathedral-like stature to a more humble cottage-like height. As well as the central courtyard, the dual entrance from Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place creates a flow and sense of accessibility to the boutique.
Walking through the space you’re definitely met with a sense of comfort. I went around noon and the light was marvelous, spilling in from the skylights and tall windows. As mentioned above the floor tiles really do reflect the light beautifully, which in turn makes all of the wooden elements radiate a warmth that I’ve never experienced in a retail environment before. I wanted to sit and relax in the shop like it was my home.
The boutique will house the full A.P.C. men’s and women’s collections as well as the recently expanded denim collection, accessories, and collaborations. The Melrose shop will be the crown jewel to an ever-expanding presence in Los Angeles with new shops opening in downtown and Silver Lake in late 2014. Based on this space I’m excited to see how they continue to evolve their spaces.