New Beginnings, Part I

Los Angeles' Road to Awe comes out on top in VMSD's 2017 Retail Renovation Competition
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Posted September 12, 2017

Loyal followers of Los Angeles-based Road to Awe’s (RtA) social media feeds aspire to achieve the effortless, LA-cool street look of the brand’s millennial Hollywood celeb influencers – think Bella Hadid, Wiz Khalifa and Hailey Baldwin. For its inaugural brick-and-mortar venture, RtA planted roots in the fashionable West Hollywood, Calif., neighborhood, where it could extend its online following to a physical space for shoppers and celebrity stylists alike.

The incredible transformation of the original site, from a drab, 1970s-era building – formerly home to an oriental rug shop – to a dreamlike sculptural environment, captured the attention of VMSD’s judges, making it a standout in this year’s Retail Renovation Competition.


Road to Awe, Los Angeles / Photography: Brandon Shigeta, Los Angeles

Exuding exclusivity through the store’s design was key, says Dan Brunn, principal, Dan Brunn Architecture (Los Angeles). “[The goal was] to create this voyeuristic environment where you have to kind of peek in at what’s going on in there, who’s in there, and to create a very exclusive mood to the store,” he says.

A dark material palette, including black steel, black mirrors and tea-stained, ebonized oak, helped achieve the brand’s edgy aesthetic, while the exterior windows were reduced in size to minimize straight-on viewing angles, creating a sense of mystery. An interior olive
tree garden, highlighted by an oculus skylight, adds levity while representing the brand’s Moroccan heritage and LA’s “endless summer.”


Road to Awe, Los Angeles / Photography: Brandon Shigeta, Los Angeles

“I think they nailed their goals. It’s sculptural and experiential. It’s very edgy!” said 2017 competition judge Vicki Wiesman, store planner/
interior designer, The Kroger Co. (Cincinnati). Claudia Cerchiara, client leader – retail, BHDP Architecture (Cincinnati), another competition
judge, noted, “It’s one theme throughout the whole space. It’s consistent, and the fixtures are awesome.”

To enter VMSD’s 2018 Retail Renovation Competition, stay tuned for the announcement of the call for entries, early next year.