AB design studio, inc.

AB design studio, inc.

Santa Barbara, CA | Los Angeles, CA


Funk Zone Steps

Nestled in the heart of the city, Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone stands as an exceptional hub of art, business, and industry. In this creative exploration, the Architect asked: “What’s missing?” Through our lens, the answer is clear—a communal gathering space. 

Our conceptual design for a versatile communal area embraces a playful and contemporary essence, while maintaining a touch of industrial charm that pays homage to the area’s rich history. However, the focal point remains the communal stair, strategically connecting with the street, interacting with the bustling scene along Anacapa, and captivating even the pedestrians strolling along Cabrillo. Its design is meticulously crafted to entice those passing by and beckon them into the inviting space.

Drawing inspiration from the iconic Spanish Steps, we delved into the concept of a
vertical communal area that guides you to the second-floor commercial zones and
event venue. While the ground floor serves functional and efficient purposes, the second floor radiates with activity. An immersive culinary journey and an open-air rooftop deck converge to craft a space perfect for lunching, socializing with friends, or simply enjoying a laid-back work session with your laptop.

This mixed-use project presents a range of compelling features. Positioned on the third floor, our hotel offers breathtaking views of the ocean, the Riviera, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Below it, a neighborhood-serving “bodega” caters to Urban Wine Trail hikers, while a café provides both relaxation and excitement. However, the true highlight is our communal space—a dynamic hub designed to craft a distinct sense of “place.” Here, people can gather, dine, rest, celebrate, revel in live music, and relish outdoor movies against the backdrop of a setting sun. Rooted in a blend of history and innovative thought, our solution defines the new essential destination in the vibrant Funk Zone.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Santa Barbara, CA, US