Trina Turk tries out a very different look for her Los Angeles showroom—tailored by Bestor Architecture
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 6/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
A 1970's wool tapestry by Romeo Rena shields the sales area from the entry of Trina Turk's Los Angeles wholesale showroom. However, a 1964 bamboo-and-rattan chair by Franco Bettonica remains visible.
Backed by a second Rena tapestry, the lounge's custom seating features cushions in cotton canvas and pillows in textured tussah silk.
This cotton jacquard print is from the spring-summer 2007 collection.
A display case and the entry flank a concrete column, backed by mirror.
The lounge's custom seating and table are Douglas fir plywood.
Partitions clad in plastic laminate separate the sales area's four quadrants, each furnished with Marcel Wanders chairs, an Eero Saarinen table, a Tom Dixon pendant globe, and coconut matting.
A steel-framed glass wall encloses the showroom manager's office. At the far end, a laser-imaged print by Jonathan Skow, Turk's husband, hangs above aluminum chairs and a glass-topped wrought-iron table, all vintage.
In the sales area, a powder-coated steel ledge supports custom mannequin heads reproduced from a vintage form.
Turk revised a 2005 print for drapery that conceals the open office area.
This silk jersey print is from spring-summer 2007.
Had she not become a fashion designer, Trina Turk might have turned her talents to interiors. Even at the breakneck pace of 10 women's clothing and accessories collections a year, she and her husband, photographer Jonathan Skow, have found time to restore and furnish a 1936 streamlined-moderne house in Palm Springs, California, and a 1948 post-and-beam residence by Case Study architect J.R. Davidson in Los Angeles. "I'm good with texture, color, and pattern," Turk says—and her sunny, mod clothing is a testament to that claim. "But I do know when to bring in a professional."
To give the right branded message to her latest commercial venture, her first independent wholesale showroom, she tapped Bestor Architecture's Barbara Bestor, a comer on L.A.'s hip architecture circuit. The commission represents an about-face for Turk. As opposed to the embellishment embraced by Jonathan Adler and KWID's Kelly Wearstler—the designers of Turk's East and West Coast boutiques, respectively—Bestor opts for bohemian modern.
In the case of this 2,800-square-foot corner space in a huge 1920's garment-center loft building, the architect says, that meant nothing "overcooked." Not with that concrete flooring, those massive columns, and all the original casement windows. More about the working girl than the glamazon, Bestor's project lets understated beauty and grace shine.
Like a choreographer, she began by blocking out the floor plan with a precise movement for each section. First, she explains, she "dematerialized the storefront" with glass and mirror. The former is used for a pair of doors as well as for a display case that juts 3 feet into the corridor. Between these elements stands a structural column that obviously couldn't be moved, so Bestor simply mirrored the recess behind—resulting in a rhythmic facade that appears to snake around this massive intruder. The combination also makes Trina Turk stand out from the run of flat-fronted showrooms lining the 300-foot-long trek from the elevators. And buyers get one last chance to primp before entering.
A swath of magenta paint, which starts on the corridor wall perpendicular to the glass doors, extends a few inches beyond, into reception, strengthening the connection between inside and out. The built-in desk itself is self-effacing to the point of practically disappearing into the architecture—a simple L shape clad in white plastic laminate.
For the adjacent lounge, Bestor continues, "Our attitude was What would Donald Judd do?" Probably build nothing more than a series of basic boxes in Douglas fir plywood. So Bestor did, too. Low, platform-style banquettes don't remain severely bare, however. They're piled deep with silk-upholstered pillows in bright, saturated colors. The ensemble is lit by shimmering cast-glass pendant globes, suspended at varying heights from the 12-foot ceiling.
Turk's role was to max out the minimalism. For starters, take the 1970's perforated tapestry with a blood-red bull's-eye motif—a direct appeal to one's inner hippie. "I saw it at the Modernism show last year but had no place for it," Turk recalls—until Bestor suggested employing it as a screen between the front reception-lounge zone and the sales area. Not only was the piece still available, but the dealer had also located its mate in the meantime; Bestor installed that one in the lounge.
A 40-foot-wide curtain is another stand-in for a solid wall, this time hiding the open office area. Strengthening the fashion-interiors fusion, the curtain's metallic bronze graphic is an overscale version of a silk georgette print from a Trina Turk resort collection.
The showroom's commercial engine, the sales area, literally revolves around another immense column. Arranged in pinwheel fashion, four 9-foot-tall partitions faced in white plastic laminate yield four semi-enclosed meeting quadrants. Buyers can preview pieces for next season by pulling them from a Marc Newson–esque rolling rack in powder-coated steel, then hanging them from C channels screwed to the partitions' glossy surface. The project's one concession to luxury is the furnishings here: Eero Saarinen's Tulip tables, Marcel Wanders's New Antiques chairs, and Tom Dixon's Copper Shade pendant globes.
Back-of-house is anchored by fuchsia carpet. To divide the open office area, for six, from the showroom manager's private office, where rank shows its privileges, Bestor built a steel-framed glass wall. Its grid references the office's ribbon of windows.
Across from the manager's desk, Turk styled a charming vignette with two vintage Steelcase chairs upholstered in sunset colors, flanking a table with a wrought-iron butterfly base. All three pieces came from a shop in Palm Springs. Above them hangs a soft-focus enlargement of happy yellow flowers—that one came directly from her photographer husband.