If you're looking for a local shopping experience that combines high-style, hard-to-find wares, good eats and the occasional art exhibition — all without the hassle of Los Angeles traffic — you might punch your ticket and board Platform, a new shopping development unfolding next to the Metro Expo Line's Culver City Station.
The name is a nod both to the presence — past and present — of nearby rail lines and the desire of developers to make the four-acre retail and restaurant project a platform for the brands on board.
Platform consists of about 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 80,000 square feet of creative and office space, housed in a cluster of three-story buildings fronting Washington Boulevard near Landmark Avenue. The casual passerby would be hard-pressed not to notice it, partly because of the brightly colored dripping rainbow façade murals by L.A.-based artist Jen Stark and partly because the boxy corrugated metal exterior of one of the buildings resembles stacked shipping containers.
In selecting the tenants to board Platform, the project's principals, Joseph Miller and David Fishbein, worked from a guiding principle: choose things that couldn't be found elsewhere in the area such as unique brands, unusual retail concepts or restaurants new to the L.A. area. The Aesop cosmetics store will be the first local store also offering day spa services, and the Blue Bottle coffee shop next door will include an upstairs bookshop alcove curated by New York City-based One Grand Books.
Miller and Fishbein tapped Culver City-based Abramson Teiger Architects, located barely a drafting pencil's toss away on Lindblade Street, to design the complex, which has an industrial-yet-somehow-intimate feel to it, using exposed concrete block walls, rough-hewn wood, gray concrete-slab floors and lots of windows to divide the space into a rabbit warren of smaller shops and boutiques.
Although the first tenant, SoulCycle, moved in after Thanksgiving, what makes it unique, Miller said, is that SoulCycle's space is home to a bike-filled riding studio and the company's West Coast headquarters.
Other tenants such as Aesop's have opened in recent weeks, while the bulk of stores and restaurants are set to open by the end of March. When fully occupied, Platform will be home to 20 retail shops, five restaurants and seven creative and office spaces.
Parabellum, the L.A.-based luxe bison-leather accessories brand, plans to pull up stakes from Melrose Avenue and join the Platform posse; the London-based Linda Farrow optical brand will open its first North American flagship store there; a new men's athletic streetwear store, Kilter, opened its first-ever store here in late February.
There's also Magasin, a new 1,600-square-foot men's specialty store, whose co-founders include former Bloomingdale's men's fashion director Josh Peskowitz, that will focus at first on Italian and Japanese brands, filling its shelves with under-the-radar menswear lines such as Massimo Alba, Camoshita, Engineered Garments, Salvatore Piccolo, Golden Goose and Feit.
Joining the retail mix is Tom Dixon x Curve, a space that will serve up the interior design offerings of the British designer (that'd be the Tom Dixon part) alongside the women's apparel offerings painstakingly curated by stylist-turned-buyer Nevena Borissova (that'd be the Curve part).
And what's an afternoon of shopping without some nourishment?
On-site dining options will include Loqui, the first permanent outpost of the weekly pop-up taqueria at San Franciso's Tartine bakery, and the Cannibal, a meat-focused, 120-seat restaurant and butcher shop.
In addition to the long-term retailers, Miller said four spaces in Platform are earmarked for short-term, pop-up-style tenants, which could range from special, one-off events to art galleries. Last month, for example, Vanity Fair magazine had its annual Vanity Fair Social Club pre-Oscars events for bloggers and social media influencers at Platform instead of its usual Hollywood venue.
Two Platform short-timers are open now: a bricks-and-mortar manifestation of online-only women's activewear label Aday, which started its two-month run March 7, and an offline outpost of online art gallery Tappan Collective, which focuses on emerging artists. The physical Tappan gallery space, which occupies a ground-floor space along Washington Boulevard through mid-summer, is mounting a series of exhibitions, each of which lasts several weeks.
On display until March 19 is "Spatially Speaking," which includes works by Heather Day, Cheryl Humphreys, Satsuki Shibuya, Lola Rose Thompson and Lani Trock.
Anyone suffering auto-separation anxiety should note that popping into Platform hardly requires mastery of the Metro. Culver City is easily accessible off the 10 Freeway, and this being car-loving Southern California, there isn't just one parking garage but two.
However you arrive, just look for the #helloplatform sign abutting the elevated rail line.
Where: 8840 and 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City