Danish textile designer Kvadrat brings warmth and a distinctive sense of place to its first West Coast showroom and flagship store in L.A. Created in collaboration with sibling designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the space continues a tradition established by their previous interior design work with Kvadrat by exploring the role textiles can play in defining space and dimension.
“Textile has a very strong way of welcoming people,” says Erwan. “Building the showroom was building for people, but also building a little for the vision of textile in the space.”
The Bouroullecs have previously worked with the likes of the Bourse de Commerce in Paris, along with Vitra and HAY, and their designs have been included in the permanent collections of Musée des Arts Décoratifs, also in Paris, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Over 15 years, the duo has established a reputation for invigorating minimalist aesthetics with playful flourishes. Their signature is most evident in the two-story freestanding house erected within the Kvadrat’s new showroom.
Originally inspired by the homes of American pioneers forging westward, the structure has a manifold impact in the space. The warmth of its substantial Douglas fir beams softens an otherwise austere palette of concrete, aluminum, and glass. Textile panels designed by Erwan allow visitors to experience the acoustic properties of Kvadrat’s Febrik line of knits while playfully subverting attempts to categorize the showpiece’s purpose in a definitive way.
“What I especially like inside Kvadrat, and this is something we tried to somehow put intention into the showroom as we designed it, is that [the brand] is very coherent,” says Erwan. “At the end we don’t try much to adapt to L.A., we just want to settle there and show what is the core virgin energy of Kvadrat.”
Below, we take a closer look at the project with Jacob Manz, head of spatial design at Kvadrat.
Description: The L.A. flagship is Kvadrat’s second showroom in the United States and marks a milestone for the firm’s expansion into the U.S. Materiality is central to space. The Bouroullecs created a two-story wooden structure within the showroom, made from douglas fir harvested from responsibly managed forests. The wooden E-shaped ‘house’ incorporates work zones on its top level and a social area at its heart, with meeting rooms on the ground floor. Its walls feature textile panels with a unique knitted graphic design created by Erwan with Kvadrat Febrik.
In front of the wooden structure, a light-filled gallery space welcomes visitors. An aluminum shelving and hanging system, originally developed by the Bouroullecs for Kvadrat’s Copenhagen flagship showroom, further defines the spaces displaying large pieces of upholstery textiles, curtains, and rugs from Kvadrat, and other Kvadrat brands: Kvadrat/Raf, Simons, and Sahco. Aluminum tables and benches designed by the Bouroullecs for Emeco create a dynamic yet subtle dialogue with the track system and further underline the strong sense of materiality that defines the experience of the showroom.
Inspiration: The project originates from a strategic decision to open our first flagship showrooms on the West and East coasts in the United States. For the L.A. showroom, we wanted to work with Erwan, a long-time collaborator of Kvadrat and a designer we have worked with a lot and trusted to bring the culture of Kvadrat into the space. When we open a showroom, we ask ourselves: where are we in the world now and what inspirations can we take from this area and make it Kvadrat?
The inspiration for the Los Angeles showroom, and all spaces we create, comes from a need to reflect the part of the world we are in. As Los Angeles is the capital of the film industry in the U.S., we wanted scenography and staging to be an instrumental part of the showroom. The middle of the showroom features a staircase and it creates a light-filled gallery space. To Erwan, the DNA of the showroom is materiality and a simple approach. Sculptural art textiles that he designed are mounted on the wall to add a further dimension of color and materiality.
Blueprint: We set out to create a superb presentational and inspirational scene for our clients, meanwhile staging scenery that creates a nice and inviting atmosphere. We were also guided by Kvadrat’s constant creative collaboration with artists, designers, and architects across many disciplines.
Challenges: Most of the production took place during the pandemic. Managing everything from a distance was a real challenge. Overall the process took about 16 months and during this time we could not visit the space until just before we opened the showroom in November 2021.