Leica Store LA Featured in Interior Design

It's not just the Apple Stores that get all the press (as cool as they are). This time, Leica Store LA gets some love by magazine Interior Design in "Shoot To Thrill: Leica Mega-Store by IA Interior Architects." More of an overview of the design elements of the store than any real detail, but it's nice to see just the same. Goes without saying - the "Fake Leica" sculpture is mentioned a few times.

The commission for Leica’s first mega-store came with an unusual caveat: Showcase not only 20 handheld cameras, IA Interior Architects project director Kirk Stewart was told, but also a camera sculpture, 1,000 pounds in stainless steel, front and center. Fake Leica is the work of Liao Yibai, who simultaneously questions and glorifies the Chinese mania for luxury goods via enormous watches, rings, handbags, stilettos, and the like.

Sure, Leica’s goal is to sell cameras and lenses at the Los Angeles location. (They’re displayed jewellike in a run of cabinetry lacquered black on the outside and lined in red leather.) However, the mega-store designation for the three-level, 8,000-square-foot space derives from its uniquely multifaceted program.

This being L.A., Stewart didn’t forget the VIP lounge where celebs get to chill. It’s furnished with chairs by Charles and Ray Eames and enlivened by a terrific, slightly smutty photomontage of a guy in a restroom, ogling portraits of Marilyn Monroe. On two, there’s a gallery for temporary exhibitions, a library of rare photography books and signed editions, and a terrace, an ensemble that occasionally morphs into an event space.

In fact, everything but the offices on three can double as a studio for shooting print ads and TV commercials. Lexus and Beats by Dre were recent clients.

Aside from retaining the existing stairway’s position, beneath a skylight, Stewart entirely rebuilt the interior, giving it an unmistakable gallery vibe: concrete or white-oak flooring, white walls, black shelves. “It almost appears as if we didn’t try very hard,” he says. “With Leica making a commercial comeback, we never got confused that the cameras are the real stars.”

Also existing, the black stucco framing the facade transforms its expanse of glass into a giant viewfinder for passersby. The new staircase appears behind, glowing white next to Fake Leica. It will stay right there until someone pays the $1 million price, perhaps while purchasing one of the significantly smaller real Leicas.

Additional Images

Photographs by Art Gray and are (C) Copyright by Interior Design:

Stainless-steel camera sculpture by Liao Yibai dominates the front of the sales floor.

Leather lines the display niches.

Stair risers are panels with integral LEDs.

In the VIP lounge, a photomontage by Craig Semetko amid chairs by Charles and Ray Eames.

The stair’s treads are steel with a gunmetal finish.

Existing stucco frames the facade of the 1980’s building.

At the rear of the sales floor, custom desks in solid-surfacing serve as print stations.

Epoxy coats the concrete floor on the ground level.

A desk by A.G. Fronzoni appoints the library of rare books, including signed editions.

Flooring in the gallery is white oak.

Video - Behind the Scenes