Standard, Silvia Kuhle and Jeff Allsbrook’s LA–based firm, has a portfolio chock-full of compelling retail projects, from James Perse to Maxfield to Jenni Kayne. Recently, they completed another retail design, this time for the beauty brand Hourglass Cosmetics’ first stand-alone store, in a 1920s building on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Carisa Janes, the company’s founder, “liked our approach to space and detail and wanted something to showcase her line,” says Kuhle. Lighting would be key, to give customers a solid sense of how the cosmetics would look on their skin. Moreover, “The products are designed for a strong person, so the space wasn’t supposed to be too decorated, but Carisa wanted a strong design element in the store,” she says.
On the design side, Allsbrook and Kuhle obliged by creating two dynamic elements that inform the space. One is a curvilinear wall of backlit glass rods that wraps around part of the store. “We wanted to acknowledge the beach culture,” notes Allsborook. “The glass tubes bring a liquid sensibility.”
To display the products, Allsbrook and Kuhle came up with a zigzagging counter. “We had the entire line of products in our office to play with and organize and to understand how to relate to them and display them. Cosmetics stores have a lot of sampling,” explains Kuhle. Their solution, a counter in onyx quartz and calacatta marble, lines up the products rather than bunching them up. “You can walk in and see what it’s all about. There’s a clear view across the surface. There’s also an interactive element, you can walk around and spots will invite you in,” says Allbrook. Above, a similarly zigzagging light fixture echoes the counter below.
Allsbrook and Kuhle kept the rest of the space spare, using the exposed ceiling beams, concrete floors and brick walls of the building to give a sense of history and place. “You clearly read it’s Venice heritage,” she says.