The Los Angeles Art & Architecture Guide
While Los Angeles may have a reputation as a one industry town, the burgeoning art scene, and the city’s incredible, endemic architecture, tell a wildly different story. While the LACMA and MoCA may be the city’s most well-known icons, Los Angeles is packed with treasures.
Tortoise General Store1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | 310.314.8448
Taku and Keiko Shinomoto, the owners and curators of this much-loved shop, urge customers to slow down (like the animal the store is named for) and enjoy life’s small pleasures. The focus here is on everyday items, made beautiful, whether it’s gardening shears, beautiful Tenugui cloth napkins, coffee grinders, or sake pitchers.
The Apartment by the Line8463 Melrose Place, West Hollywood | 323.746.5056
With its sprawling layout and ample natural light, the follow-up outpost to NYC's The Apartment—the offline retail experience for Vanessa Traina Snow's The Line—feels right at home in Los Angeles. Tucked away on a side street off Melrose Place (the second-floor entrance is easy to miss), the space is broken up into shoppable rooms—living room, kitchen, bedroom, closets, etc.—much like a very chic, realistic-but-better apartment. In the living room you'll find modern furniture pieces done in subtle neutrals and scented candles; a freestanding bathtub that resembles a beautiful bowl in the bathroom; and luxe Newbark slippers, exclusive 3x1 denim, and Calvin Klein Collection separates in the walk-in closet.
OK Store8303 W. Third St., West Hollywood | 323.653.3501
Everything at this long-standing, architecturally-minded boutique—from Noguchi lamps, to Heath bud vases, to Alice Park wallets—would look just right inside, say, a Schindler or a Neutra home. The emphasis is on great gifts (almost everything comes pre-gift wrapped in basic brown butcher paper), whether it’s a framed beetle or Carl Aubock designed book-ends. There's also a location in Silver Lake.
Mameg9970 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills | 310.556.2600
Mameg is tucked away behind the mirror-fronted Maison Martin Margiela on Little Santa Monica, and should you not know to look, you’d never know it was there. But search it out, and you’ll find a pretty rarified world. Here Eatable of Many Orders sweaters mingle with Cosmic Wonders dresses, and Jil Sander cardigans rest next to Hussein Chalayan hats.
Des Kohan671 S. Cloverdale Ave., Mid-City | 323.857.0200
Desire Kohan has amassed a stable of envelope-pushing designers—Juan Carlos Obando, Osman Yousefzada, Damir Doma—that you can't find anywhere else. Everything is airily arranged in her light-filled space, which is tucked out-of-the-way near Museum Mile. Beyond the beautiful clothing, Des will always help you put a look together.
RTH Shop537 & 529 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.289.7911
Styled like an other-worldly trading post, RTH takes much of its inspiration from the Southwest. It makes sense, as he owner (and designer), René Holguin, hails from El Paso and did stints at Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and Levi’s before setting out on his own. There’s a house line of perfectly aged leather bags, smocks, and Liberty print scarves, along with seed bead pins and bracelets.
Noodle Stories8323 W. 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.651.1782
This airy, all-white space is a fitting back-drop for the avant-garde lines on offer: Here you'll find Maison Martin Margiela dresses, asymmetrical tanks and tees from Clu, and Comme des Garcons jackets. There's a Noodle Stories temporary space down the street that's singularly devoted to Issey Miyake.
Just One Eye7000 Romaine St., Hollywood | 888.563.6858
Launched by Maxfield’s former fashion director, Paola Russo, Just One Eye is an example of a gallery-cum-boutique that’s executed perfectly. The racks are sparingly stocked with labels like The Row, Proenza Schouler, and Tsumori Chisato, you can snap up Warhol prints and Calder carpets, and there are always spot-on art/fashion collaborations.
A + R171 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park | 800.913.0071
Though this design shop got its start in a space on Abbot Kinney, its relocation to La Brea is finally letting A + R stretch its legs a bit, and show larger pieces, like Bend Good's metal chairs and Scholten & Baijings' technicolored rugs. It's all arranged with smaller, more suitcase-appropriate picks, like Hay's Kaleido trays and Y'a Pas Le Feu Au Lac's vases.
Obsolete11270 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.399.0024
If you're looking for an incredibly long farm table, or a bed from an orphanage, look here. Everything here is insanely cool and patina'd, from the perfectly restored furniture to the truly one-of-a-kind finds. They've elevated store design and arrangement to an art, too, making this a fun place to browse.
Blackman Cruz836 Highland Ave., Hollywood | 323.466.8600
Adam Blackman and David Cruz's eponymous shop occupies a space that once was a gay nightclub (it was in American Gigolo if you'd like to see it in its former incarnation), which just gives credence to the concept that you never know where you might find treasure. They have impeccable taste and a curatorial sensibility which makes this one of LA's more inspirational home goods shops.
Mona Moore222 Main St., Venice | 310.452.4070
The buy at Mona Moore (which got its start in Montreal) is always very highly curated, so what is here is great. Flats by The Row, Maison Margiela heels, and Vetements boots are dotted across the floor, and there are several racks or clothing, too.
Max & Moritz7209 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.851.2200
This excellent general store is situated on a stretch of Santa Monica that's decidedly out-of-the-way (particularly during daylight hours), but it's inarguably one of our favorite new shopping destinations. Styled in a way that will make you want to buy everything, they're offering everything from earthquake emergency kits (housed in a stylish leather tote) to paper-thin Mud ceramics, to Delfonics pens and Postalco stationery, to ombre dog collars, to the most ideal German broom and dustpan. Yes, we're that excited about a broom and dustpan. It's owned by the mother and son team behind Food+Lab.
Arcana8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.458.1499
Tucked away in the back of the Helms Bakery building, Arcana is easy to miss: In fact, they seem to play it intentionally low-pro. They have an incredible selection of rare and hard-to-find art books, many of which are behind glass.
HD Buttercup290 Townsend St., Mission | 415.820.4788
The first thing to keep in mind about HD Buttercup stores is that they're HUGE—the one in S.F. is actually the largest home store in the entire Bay Area. Like the original L.A. outpost housed in a former bread factory, this one lives in a former meat-packing warehouse, where the selection of modern and Mid-Century lighting, seating, dining tables, rugs, and absolutely everything in between is unparalleled in the area. While there is depth, there aren't a lot of bargains (though they occasionally have huge sales).
Chariots on Fire1342.5 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | 310.450.3088
This gallery-like shop on Abbot Kinney is the brainchild of Ritz Yagi, who runs a creative agency of the same name. The offerings are spare, gorgeous, and special, whether it's a gem-inflected necklace or a perfectly imperfect hand-throw tray by Japanese artist Makoto Kagoshima.
Huset1316 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | 424.268.4213
This sliver of space on Abbot Kinney has a really healthy selection of all the Scandinavian home goods lines we've all come to love: Iittala glassware, Arne Jacobsen for Stelton water jugs, and Marimekko trays. There's also a small range of clothing, and some cute stuff for kids.
Lily Ashwell566 Rose Ave., Venice | 424.744.8176
Like many businesses in this part of town, this beautifully turned out shop occupies a teeny, whitewashed bungalow, and artist-slash-designer Lily Ashwell makes excellent use of the space. There’s a little bit of everything here, starting with a tightly edited display of home goods (locally made tableware, hand-woven rugs, candles, art books, etc.) and ending with a house line of dresses, jumpsuits and flowing skirts—all of which are made from vintage fabrics.