RK Apothecary

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The LADG (Los Angeles Design Group) designed a luxury retail space with custom lighting and flexible display fixtures in Frank Gehry’s Edgemar Retail Complex in Santa Monica, California.

Here is the project description:

RK Apothecary is a spatially efficient and visually engaging retail space. The product is taken off of the shelves and displayed on a series “outré fruit” tables so the customer can engage with it.

The RK Apothecary space before the redesign was small and dense with structural and mechanical elements that could not be altered. The LADG’s design had to respond to the existing interior because the client did not have the luxury of gutting it and beginning fresh. The double-height ceilings required them to develop hanging lighting fixtures to activate the space.

Square or rectilinear tables were either too big to allow customers to pass through the store or too small to accommodate the large number groupings of product desired by the client. Given the constraints, The LADG experimented with water filled ice bags – reminiscent of those used by British nurses to sooth the fever of an ailing patient in a 1950′s film. They observed how the bags slumped, folded and wallowed around obstacles. The displays were designed to imitate the posture of ice bags in order to navigate through difficult fits between columns and oddly planned corners.

The pragmatic problems served as a point of entry to design. They drew parallels between the large display “pods” and the anatomy of fruit. Take the strawberry as an example. The exterior gives little clue to the structural nature of its interior. By peeking inside the relatively plain skin of the displays, the “outré fruit” could reveal a very different, exotic interior.

As this line of thinking matured, the architects looked at still-life paintings by Caravaggio and Rubens. Designers Andrew Holder and Benajmin Freyinger describe the inspiration, “These artists used fruit as sumptuous, scene-setting devices in exactly the way we hoped to deploy our outré fruit to present product in the store. In that sense, the outré fruit is set afloat inside the environment and piled with tempting objects to browse.”

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