The Santa Monica-based luxury design firm-helmed by partners Adam Goldstein, Leslie Kale, and Christian Schulz-is famous for its restaurant, hotel and entertainment projects, including Thompson Beverly Hills, upcoming venues at the Hollywood Roosevelt and re-designs of New Quiksilver destination stores in California. Here, the Collective speak as one about things dear (and not so), in the design world, to their hearts. Just don’t call it all a “lifestyle.”
ROOM 100: What is the most “perfect” building designed in the world and why?
STUDIO COLLECTIVE: One of our very favorite buildings is the (hopefully never developed) backside of LACMA in Los Angeles. Much effort has been placed in the newly renovated entrance, installations, etcetera, on the Wilshire Boulevard entrance. However, we simply love the back side of the Cultural Center, a virtual “atrium” of sorts, situated on a grassy knoll, with no movement. The interior natural light reminds Leslie [Kale] of “the atrium my grandmother had in her Texas home, where I recall noticing every thing for the first time, and finding my creativity. I think I was four years old, and found every excuse to be there with her in that room. There’s something about that natural light. For now, and every single day for 15-plus years, I have driven past this middle-of-nowhere, sophisticated building, which is extremely approachable.”
What’s your favorite commercial packaging?
Hands Down, the now-defunct, all-black “carry-away,” generic plastic grocery-liquor store bags. They’re fast becoming a menace due to environmental issues, and hard to find. I’m actually now collecting them!
How does your personal style translate to the objects and things you design?
It’s not so much about a literal translation, but rather a shared appreciation for the well detailed, and a handcrafted aesthetic. Both are constantly evolving.
What is your favorite restaurant design, and why?
Sierra Mar, in Big Sur, California. As close to dining in heaven as one may ever experience.
What word in “design” terms do you think is over-used?
The term “lifestyle” is really getting on our nerves for the past year or so. Everyone and everything is claiming that they are a “lifestyle brand or design,” I mean, really? Most companies and people don’t truly understand the complexities and character traits that truly define what that means. It’s beyond over-used, and its meaning has been so watered down we rarely take it seriously when someone lay’s claim to it.
If there is one object you could buy for your home (be it furniture, art, object), what would it be?
I have been searching for the perfect linear-shaped Paul Evans- type wall-sculpture for my beachside cottage, to go on a wall above my sofa. I want one that functions as a beautiful piece of art, yet also has reflective qualities to bring the views of the seaside, sun, and ocean into my home.