Urban Outfitters is turning the mini-mall into a scenester hangout. Picture a sleek tapas bar, chic sneaker boutique and art book store instead of Payless, Quiznos and Hallmark.
On Monday, the Philadelphia-based chain is unveiling a new retail concept, Space 15 Twenty, in Hollywood. The idea is taking what's familiar -- an anchor store and a cluster of surrounding smaller shops -- but only inviting neighbors that can create a buzz, such as Santa Monica art book seller Hennessey + Ingalls, New York vintage shop What Comes Around Goes Around and sneaker brand Alife, whose space features a giant Marcel Duchamp-inspired urinal.
The complex is built around an Urban Outfitters store with all the usual trendy apparel for men and women, and furniture and gifts, and an area designated for one-off fashion installations. Brooklyn-based designer Samantha Pleet will launch this pop-up space with her Rapscallion holiday collection, Patrick Pleet menswear (named after her husband) and "green" line Bodkin. Upcoming collections include Mirror/Dash by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and the Generic Surplus footwear line from the Generic Man.
Urban Outfitters is opening a separate store, We the Free, to feature its in-house We the Free collection of knits, hand-embroidered dresses, denim and accessories. To add a bit of art-world gloss, the Gallery at Space 15 Twenty will host bimonthly exhibitions of local artists and photographers, opening with a group show with Sumi Ink Club, Brian Roettinger and Hamburger Eyes, curated by Echo Park's Hope Gallery.
Urban Outfitters has tapped local influencers such as Anh Do, a keyboardist for Gwen Stefani turned marketing manager who helped launch L.A.'s Opening Ceremony store, to curate the gallery, events and retail.
She says Space 15 Twenty will distinguish itself from other Urban Outfitters locations with unique design collaborations, hand-picked vintage and lots of emerging labels. With sophisticated technology at their fingertips 24/7, young people today have a short attention span for retail, she says. "This concept will continually change to keep it fresh."
The Space 15 Twenty name comes from its Cahuenga Boulevard address, formerly the Hollywood Studio Lighting warehouse. The store has updated the building's original pre-World War II masonry -- brick walls and wooden bow truss ceilings -- with high-tech glass windows and industrial neon signage. The series of buildings frames an outdoor courtyard that will eventually host the Urban Stock Market, a weekly flea market for vintage.
And because the store is located along the thriving Cahuenga Corridor, near Amoeba Music, the ArcLight Cinemas and the Sunday Hollywood Farmers' Market -- plus numerous nightclubs, restaurants and bars -- it will stay open until 11 p.m., while the courtyard restaurant Snackbar, which dishes up American-style tapas, will be open until midnight.
And Space 15 Twenty will probably be the only mini-mall in L.A. where you can walk away with a Steven Alan blouse and a monograph by Louise Bourgeois.
Space 15 Twenty, 1520 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 785-4042. www.space15twenty.com.
Padilla is a freelance writer.