LA Philharmonic Bookstore

From the inside out, the Walt Disney Concert Hall presents an interior composition of residual curved surfaces.  With three distinct tenant spaces and a total area of over 1,022 sq. m., the project posed the challenge of establishing a continuity of tone and form from one interior space to the next while treating each area uniquely in accord with the range of intended uses involved.

The LA Philharmonic’s Retail space needed to distinguish itself from the strong personality of its surroundings, while still seeming to “fit in” from a design perspective.

In addition to fulfilling the spatial organization and functional design necessary to serve the programmatic uses of a gift shop, the design promotes an atmosphere of suspension and play with elements that float throughout the space.

The screen shelves in the Retail Store accentuate the experience of being amid a field of floating elements that single out and celebrate particular merchandise. The central open area of the retail store that might typically be filled with aisles of merchandise from floor to shoulder height and then be left open above is here transitioned into a dispersed field of screen shelves.  These elements serve both to display merchandise and to reconfigure the open space, alternately blocking and opening up views and paths for the wandering customer.  Each individual shelf unit comprises a series of stacked slats, each of which contains a double-curved contour.  Through the repetition and re-orientation of these slats, a woven stack of wood layers appears to have been impressed with open pockets for the display of CDs and other souvenir merchandise.  Suspended on steel rods that extend from the floor up into recessed light wells in the ceiling, the shelf units are movable and able to be shifted vertically to accommodate a variety of use options.  When the shelves are lifted all the way up into the ceiling and the movable bases below get pulled away, the store is completely opened up below for book signings, openings, and other events.

The store also features a back-lit acrylic display wall that incorporates puck hardware and shelves.  This illuminated area is visible from the Grand Avenue entrance of the store, drawing in customers who are outside of the Hall itself.  Near the lobby-side entrance, a floor-to-ceiling wall of undulating display shelves serves as a large-scale bookshelf that enables new ways of organizing and viewing books, embedding them within the wall itself.  Like the screen shelves, the shifting surface of this display wall opens up areas for display and storage of merchandise.

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