Alexander McQueen Flagship Store, Los Angeles

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Alexander McQueen Flagship Store, Los Angeles

The new Alexander McQueen flagship store in Los Angeles occupies a prominent corner site in West Hollywood, where Melrose Avenue meets Orlando Avenue and Melrose Place. It is the latest of a series of almost twenty stores worldwide, which began with the 2002 opening of the first store in New York City. The Los Angeles store is unique within the McQueen series principally because this was a new-build project on a partially vacant site. For the first time there was an opportunity to design the form of the exterior as well as the interior. The existing building on the site was set back to the northern boundary, resulting in a large open car park adjacent to the Melrose Avenue corner frontage. In contrast the new building is positioned close to the southern street frontage allowing a private space to be created behind. This new courtyard, enclosed by high walls, provides the required statutory parking spaces and is quietly planted with bamboo and passion fruit. The exterior of the building follows a gentle curve from Melrose onto Orlando, echoing the line of the street, with its height dictated by the large billboard floating above the site, which we were required to retain. The fluid curve of the new building is emphasised by a continuous band of glazing to the street, some of which allows views into the shop, but which is predominantly opaque. A long canopy provides shade to the south facing windows with a planting bed mirroring this line below. The entire structure is finished in the same self-coloured stucco render. The store employs the interior design language created by William Russell and McQueen for the three original Flagship Stores in London, Milan and New York, creating a branded spatial experience full of drama and intrigue however, in the Los Angeles flagship there has been the opportunity to expand on this language with new levels of finish and resolution. The theatrical quality of the interior, inspired by McQueen’s extraordinary catwalk shows, compliments the clothes while the limited palette of materials and precise detailing allow the collection to stand out within the space. Unlike previous McQueen stores, in addition to being a new-build project, the store also includes a large sculpture by London-based artist Robert Bryce Muir, commissioned exclusively for the Los Angeles flagship by Alexander McQueen. Entitled “Angel of the Americas`, patrons of the store are greeted by the feet and legs of the large figure which is suspended through a skylight adjacent to the entrance. With his head and shoulders rising up through the clear glazing to the exterior skyline, the figure appears to be levitating.

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