Gentle Monster, Los Angeles
816 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Korean eyewear company Gentle Monster has landed with a flagship store in LA’s rapidly renewing downtown area. Each of the brand’s stores boasts a creative, experiential ‘story’ that blends retail with art, and this one is no different.
A quirky, whimsical take on ‘harvest’, the LA store features installations that reference the traditional agriculture of pre-industrial Korea. Quiet and zen-like, the space is in contrast to the rapid-fire spirit of downtown LA. Marble, metal and mother-of-pearl bring nature into the city, and interconnected rooms takes visitors on a journey through the various stages of the harvest.
Creatively disruptive, Gentle Monster proves again that brand is the ultimate tool.
Entrance is into the ‘paddy fields’, where shaggy scarecrows oversee mother-of-pearl fields. These ‘come to life’ as people pass by, enticing them inside.
Next are the ‘rice fields’, a field of metallic rods that represent rolling hills of a rice crop. Displayed as though on exhibition, product is first seen in the following room, a series of metal and marble shelves drawing inspiration from farm tractor blades.
Softened by hand-knitted, tufted rugs, the panelled ‘wood room’ marks the next stage in the harvest. Finally, a kinetic sculpture by Jung Uk Yang guides visitors through the threshing process, with the end of their journey marked by a ringing bell.
The store is absent of any signage or marketing materials, foregrounding the notion of brand as experience. Staff are available for questions or queries, including around prescription lenses, which this store is the first of the Gentle Monster family to offer.
Though most of their glasses are purchased online, the stores specifically target Millennials by providing a uniquely exploratory, Instagrammable experience. Once again, Gentle Monster shows the power of brand.