Johnston Marklee designs Holly Hunt Showroom in Los Angeles


Architecture studio Johnston Marklee has installed a pair of villas inside an industrial building in Hollywood to create display spaces for design brand Holly Hunt.

The LA-based studio collaborated with Holly Hunt‘s executive creative director Jo Annah Kornak to create the showroom on North Highland Avenue.

Vaulted villa inside Holly Hunt's LA showroom
A vaulted villa is one of two volumes installed inside Holly Hunt’s LA showroom

Led by Johnston Marklee partner Sharon Johnston, the project involved the overhaul of a two-storey, 1940s building into a flagship location for the brand to showcase its furniture and home products.

Holly Hunt’s design aesthetic and the city’s “characteristic industrial grit” were combined through the use of rich finishes and raw surfaces.

Furniture displayed inside the vaulted space
Furniture from the brand’s Vladimir Kagan and Holly Hunt Studio collections are displayed in the north villa

Two villas were created inside the showroom to present the designs in residential-scale spaces, surrounded by a “promenade” that shows off the building’s tall ceilings and exposed concrete beams.

“The raw concrete shell frames an interior street,” said Johnston.

“A double-height promenade space around the villas, together with the villa interiors, creates an atmosphere and experiential narrative for the display of elegant domestic furniture for house and garden.”

Another villa features interior vignettes
The second villa includes interior vignettes on the lower level

The villa to the north features a vaulted ceiling and wall niches and is used to display the brand’s Vladimir Kagan and Holly Hunt Studio collections.

At the other end of the building, a two-level structure is arranged around a large circular atrium at the centre.

The two-storey villa is arranged around a circular atrium
A circular atrium is located at the centre of the second villa

The lower floor comprises a series of interior vignettes, while rooms upstairs house a library of textiles, leather, trim and rugs, along with wallcoverings from a variety of affiliate brands.

“The visitors’ journey through the spaces reflects a spatial dialogue between exterior and interior, linked through richly finished in-between spaces,” Johnston said.

Promenade area with tall ceilings and matte finishes
A taller space named the promenade surrounds the building’s interior

Light-grey oak flooring runs through both villas, while terrazzo, concrete walls and hand-troweled plaster are all executed in a matte finish in the promenade.

Bronze details also feature throughout the showroom, including the entry vestibules, stairwell and lighting gallery.

Although most of the interior is decorated in neutral tones, a 24-foot (7.3-metre), mustard-coloured sofa follows a curved corner of the building.

“We approached the interior architecture in the same way that we would design a new product, being very thoughtful with our use of scale, proportion and materials,” said Kornak.

Tall space within industrial building
The concrete of the 1940s industrial building is left exposed

“We were very intentional about incorporating elements that celebrate LA’s signature urban aesthetic, like the original exposed concrete walls, beams, and other details throughout the space,” she added.

Holly Hunt was set up in 1983 by its eponymous founder in Chicago.

The brand previously operated two spaces within LA’s Pacific Design Center, but has scaled down to just the sixth-floor showroom now that the North Highland Avenue flagship has opened.

Holly Hunt products on display
Matte finishes and bronze details are used throughout the showroom

Johnston and partner Mark Lee established their studio in 1998, and have since completed many private residential projects in Southern California – including the Vault House and Knoll’s West Hollywood showroom – as well as around the world.

Lee is also chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The photography is by The Ingalls.



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