LA Design Center

LA Design Center


Los Angeles, CA | 2004

Part of a four-phase master plan, this project involved the transformation of two derelict warehouses in South Los Angeles (formerly called South Central) into the first phase of a new showroom district whose purpose is to serve the area’s many furniture manufacturers. The project also includes venues for cultural events. It contributes to the economic renewal of this historically overlooked neighborhood with 20,000 square feet of exterior event space and 80,000 square feet of flexible interior space.

Off-the-shelf materials such as concrete, polycarbonate, cement board, fabric, ordinary lumber, as well as small amounts of stainless steel and zinc sheet metal, were selected for their low cost, ease of construction, industrial nature, and inherent beauty. The building’s interiors were sandblasted to bring back the warmth of the existing wood and masonry structures.

The main exterior space between the two buildings serves as the social center of the project and can be used as an ordinary parking lot, a combination “people-car” space (its most common function), or a large event space. Several events, including the 2005 Los Angeles Chapter AIA Gala, have encouraged many Angelenos to visit a neighborhood they have never been to before.


Project Team

Principal-in-Charge: John Friedman
Project Team: Alice Kimm, Dan Brunn
Structural Engineers: Mackintosh & Mackintosh (building); Franceschi Engineering, Inc. (gates); William Koh and Associates, Inc. (monument sign)
Electrical Engineer: Pacific Engineers Group
Landscape Architect: Orange Street Studio
Graphic Design: Garza Group Communications, Inc.
General Contractor: Brunswick Builders
Photography: Fotoworks



Francisco and Alba Pinedo, Cisco Brothers


2007 The Bruner Foundation
Rudy Bruner Silver Medal for Urban Excellence

2006 AIA/Los Angeles
Decade Award

2005 AIA California Council
Merit Award

2004 AIA National
Institute Honor Award

2004 The Chicago Athenaeum
American Architecture Award

2004 AIA/Los Angeles
Honor Award

2003 Westside Urban Forum
Westside Prize

2002 Los Angeles Business Council
Los Angeles Architectural Award of Excellence