Prada Epicenter Store in the City of Angels
By Marsha Bentley Hale
Photos courtesy of OMA
“What is this?” “This is Prada!”
ANDORRA, Nov 17, 2004/ FW/ --- It was on a Sunday morning stroll last summer in Beverly Hills when I first saw the new Prada Los Angeles Epicenter store at 343 N. Rodeo Dr. I knew not what I was looking at from across the road.
It was a building without a front wall, door or display window. I was puzzled. I was intrigued. As I zeroed in I saw two oversize female sculptures. They were not in the Charles Ray mannequin vein. They were not wearing designer clothes; they were sculptures of the female form with no heads.
In the center of this mysterious cavern I could barely make out precise wooden stairs like those of a ship leading to the heavens of this building. I crossed the street and entered into this foreign world. Beneath my feet I found two clear covered grottos housing two fully clothed mannequins. The display windows were subterranean ovals or as I later read called, display cones.
There were two security guards with the tell tale curly-q cords winding up their necks from under their pristine suits to the hearing piece in their ears. I approached one, “What is this?” Looking at me like I was from another planet he replied proudly, “This is Prada!”
The Prada Los Angeles Epicenter Store
The Epicenter Store is a three-story retail shop and basement built on a 50’ wide lot. It is a feat of design and technology developed by the team efforts of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) and Arup.
The concept of the Epicenter Stores is in keeping with Miuccia Prada’s trademark clean-line fashion design (though she has a dash of wild in her), and of course projects such as this are undertaken with close collaboration of client and architect. The Epicenters are shining architectural stars of the Prada corporate identity.