Experimental retail should have the power to pull people out of their homes while giving something back to public life. Near the historic Los Angeles Beverly Center, The Webster stands out as a gentle, yet striking sculptural marvel.  The soft color in the concrete works to warm up the original Brutalist shell. Designed by Adjaye Associates and completed in 2020, The Webster seamlessly blends Brutalist and Mid Century Modern styles.

The pink Brutalist concrete exterior of The Webster
At the corner of San Vicente and Beverly Boulevard, The Webster has given up some interior square footage to create an art display for the public.  The rough Brutalist concrete appears warm and serene, even on one of the busiest intersections of the city. Photo by Laurian Ghinitoiu.

Brutalist Pink Concrete

The Webster’s seventh space occupies 11,000 square feet in L.A’s bustling Beverly Center.  The Brutalist concrete exterior of the building is saturated with a pink dye, “an ode to the luminosity of California, where the Pacific light naturally amplifies saturated colors”, Adjaye Associates says. At the front, there is a water fountain and digital art display.  Inside the space, the warm color scheme continues with varying textures and types of concrete. The columns and displays create smooth vignettes for the merchandise, while bronze framed mirrors show off the lines of the building.

Curved glass and concrete
The Webster’s panoramic front window puts the entire store on display beneath the lights of the hidden digital art display.  Underneath the cantilever, visitors can have a seat and view the artwork. Photo by Dror Baldinger.

Community Gathering Space

The retail market has been rough for some, but The Webster has been on an upswing. Laure Heriard Dubreuil, founder of The Webster aims to make community gathering spaces where people can linger and discover. Cutting the interior square footage short at the front, The Webster created an inviting public space for the city.  Only visible from below, a digital art wall spans the inner curved surface.  The art wall is intentionally low resolution and will display works of art commissioned by The Webster.  Blending the Brutalist exterior with a Mid Century Modern detail is a 3-pane panoramic wall of curved glass. To soften the design in the fitting rooms, Adjaye Associates used vintage 1950’s wallpaper from the client’s personal collection.  The Webster believes in providing a fully sensory shopping experience where customers can touch, try, and have a personal connection.

Mid mod and Brutalism in retail
Smooth lines and columns of textured concrete set the stage for the merchandise on display.  Inside, however some of the mirrors and finishes may bring your eye back to the true sculptural beauty of the space. Photo by Dror Baldinger.

Mid Century Modern Tones

The design of the Brutalist raw concrete (think massive forbidding walls) is softened with Adjaye Associates’ injected pink dye. Using one of the colors common in the mid century modern color palette helps tie the styles together. At the front in particular, the curved glass dissolves the boundary between the outside space and the store’s interior. Inside, displays and surfaces appear to float.  Clean lines and exaggerated slabs can be spotted everywhere. The Webster blends Brutalist and Mid Century Modern styles with a very minimalistic appearance. The space favors function over flashy design. Though the Brutalist concrete textures do vary, the building uses very little variation in material.

Blending Mid Century Modern styles with Brutalism
The store’s interior is minimalist but does not fall short on the details.  At the register, massive sections of pink concrete appear to defy gravity.  In addition to the other textures, the concrete floors have eye-catching black cherry marble fragments in them. Photo by Dror Baldinger.

Hungry for more Brutalism? Check out Brutalist Architecture 101 and the Sao Paulo Museum of Art!

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