Farrow & Ball (Wimborne Minster, U.K.), an already well-established paint company, could have simply done what’s worked for them in the past when it came to designing their new showroom in Los Angeles. But the brand wasn’t interested in playing it safe. “The brief was very forward thinking,” says Sandy Yum, Co-Founder of design firm Project Room (Los Angeles). “They wanted a new idea, and they really wanted to be challenged.”
Yum and fellow Co-Founder Isaac Resnikoff of Project Room come from two distinct backgrounds – hers is architecture, his is fine art. It’s no wonder that a partnership with Farrow & Ball would lead to a unique and experiential paint-buying process.
The showroom’s design is light and open, with large, many-hued posters against the walls and muted wallpaper designs between spaces. But the pièces de résistance are several massive totems throughout the space, each a unique shape, and all decorated in proprietary hues from Farrow & Ball’s offer. It’s an exhibition of color, both practical and artistic.
“We were trying to start from a phenomenological place,” says Resnikoff. “So it’s paint, and the experience of paint is the experience of color. But the product itself is much more than that, and the company is more than that.” For both Yum and Resnikoff, seeing the totems come together in store was remarkable. “As individual objects, we knew them really well,” says Resnikoff. “But it wasn’t until they came together in the space … that we realized wow, [these are] beautiful.”
This is hyper-experiential retail – where you can literally hold color in the palm of your hand. It’s that physicality they wanted, and using technology as part of the design wasn’t resonating. “One of the reactions a lot of people have these days is to add some sort of digital screen,” says Yum. “But the authenticity of the product that comes from Farrow & Ball, we knew we had to preserve that, and wanted to showcase that as much as possible. We worried less about digital and [wanted] something much more physical.”
The experience was one that both Project Room and Farrow & Ball have cherished, and offered Yum and Resnikoff a chance to do what all designers love: to play. “They were in the room with us any time we were designing or brainstorming. It felt like a holistic team,” says Yum. “[Farrow & Ball] were extremely clear in their ethos. When everyone is on board, the naturally best option rises out of that.”
Photography: Laure Joliet, Los Angeles