No camera in the world has more cachet than Leica, which is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. But even that brand faced a challenge drawing people into its new store on car-saturated Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood. “People just speed right by that location,” emphasized Kirk Stewart, project director at IA Interior Architects, who designed the project.
The primary solution: a central stair made up of glowing LED-fitted risers and raw black metal treads coupled with a polished, 770 pound, stainless steel camera sculpture at its base designed by Chinese artist Yibai Liao.
Around that dramatic but straightforward starting point the firm installed a retail space on the first floor and a gallery space, library, presentation room, and outdoor lounge on the second. The key again was simplicity. They removed interior walls on both floors for unity, fitted the rooms with elegant millwork shelves and desks, laid down a cool concrete floor, and installed gallery-appropriate lighting.
“We wanted to build it like Leica would build a camera: Simple, elegant, good craftsmanship. No gimmicks,” said Stewart. “So far so good. There’s always a group of people there that don’t look like paparazzi, but they do have cameras.”