Dan Brunn Architecture

Dan Brunn Architecture

Los Angeles, CA


RtA Melrose

Los Angeles-based fashion brand Road to Awe (RtA) hired Dan Brunn, AIA, Principal of Dan Brunn Architecture, to design a distinct flagship store as streetwise as its clothes.  Located on the trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA, Brunn created a complex, dream-like space with geometric precision, meditative sensations, and positive/negative dualities.  Graced with street exposure from two sides, the streamlined boutique needed to proclaim its variably angled black façades to the public.  Dan Brunn Architecture’s challenge was to renovate the 1,200-square-foot, 1970s building to offer new retail space that maintains its original footprint, but completely reshapes its geometry to create a more cohesive, sculptural experience.  

Brunn completely renovated the 10-foot-tall space to create a minimalist backdrop for the edgy fashion consisting of concrete floors, black mirrors, wood surfaces, and blackened steel beams.  To create an air of exclusivity, the windows were reduced in size to afford a selective and voyeuristic  brand experience and encourage passersby to venture inside to discover the goods.  The program includes an interior garden to create a calm sensation and bring a mannered sense of nature into the scene.  Merchandise display areas required malleability and diversity to be easily moved or adapted to accommodate special events.  Fitting rooms had to offer generous waiting areas where friends or personal stylists may sit while shoppers/clients try on clothes.  Connecting patrons to RtA’s visual brand identity was imperative to create a memorable shopping experience. 

Brunn reduced the storefront glass to create a private atmosphere.  A large window is set at an angle to face traffic moving east, while smaller windows provide views of the interior at the pedestrian scale.  A floor-to-ceiling pivot door seamlessly blends with the black exterior when closed, and generously welcomes shoppers when open.  A constant interplay takes place between open and closed, light and dark, and exposure and concealment.  

Interiors are organized around a central garden—a circular contemplative area accented by a single tree surrounded by grass and a curved wooden bench.  The tree is planted under a skylight that mirrors the turf/bench circle and filters in sunshine.  Merchandise surrounds visitors in display areas stretching along the sides of the 30-foot-by-40-foot space.  Clothing is hung on a custom hardware system arranged in four planes of suspended roller tracks set into white soffits and blackened steel beams.  Hangers easily slide to reveal the merchandise, and custom-designed wooden cases rotate to reveal mirrors or positive/negative insets that display for-sale items.

At the rear of the store, a fitting room and a bathroom flank a generous waiting area with a long cantilevered blackened steel bench where friends can sit while shoppers try on clothes.  This nook serves as a catwalk for customers, as the large fitting room door opens to reveal a nine-foot by eight-foot mirror.  A backlit “T”—formed by slots and recesses in the wood surfaces—takes on the asymmetry of RtA’s logo, further symbolizing the brand.

Firm:  Los Angeles-based Dan Brunn Architecture, founded in 2005 by Dan Brunn, AIA, develops commercial and residential projects worldwide.  Brunn utilizes provocative spatial choreography to harmonize light with volume.  Inspired by the Bauhaus architecture of his native Tel Aviv, he reinterprets Modernist principles in minimalist designs for living, shopping, and dining.  Brunn’s portfolio includes furniture design that addresses the needs of living room, bedroom, and bath with highly functional, sophisticated, and streamlined solutions.

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Firm Role: Architect