As businesses clammer to create more exciting, experience-driven environments for their customers, we’re seeing walls act as the personality within a space. From striking geometric patterns, illuminated sculptures to out-of-the-box materials, these walls become an extension of the brand by creating a dramatic focal point.
Stop! Did you see that?
In heavily trafficked areas, where vying for attention is an intense competition, exterior walls can be used to stop pedestrians mid-step. An excellent use of a large vertical wall, in a sea of retail businesses along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA lies Chilli Bean’s showroom. A can’t miss bold red, white and cream angular tiled panels are stacked vertically
A can’t miss bold red, white and cream angular tiles are stacked vertically, past the storefront and up to the rooftop. Noticeable from blocks away, it becomes a beacon in a fun, whimsical and quicky way. By presenting itself in such a unique way, Chilli Beans becomes an approachable and affordable alternative to the high-fashion retailers next door.
In contrast to the Chilli Bean’s primary colors and approachable exterior, lies Tiffany & Co.’s showroom wrapped in marble. With linear cuts in various thicknesses, the marble has a refined texture that aligns with the luxury of the products inside. The turquoise frosted glasses framed in gold mimics the jewelry and precious materials that embodies Tiffany & Co.
Using exterior walls is not always possible or within budget. On top of acquiring permits and approvals, it’s a large budgetary expense and best suited for high-trafficked areas. Also, material choices must be durable enough to withstand weather conditions which are often a premium.
Forget your grandma’s wallpaper.
Interior walls also serve a different purpose. Oppose to exterior walls that function as eye-candy to bring customers in, interiors play more into the overall retail experience. One of the easiest methods of achieving the desired experience is through use of colors, textures, and patterns in paints or wallpapers.
Today’s wallpaper designs are hip, bold and Instagram worthy. Take the lobby of Eighth & Grand, in Downtown Los Angeles, CA for example. The rich, metallic finish over geometric patterns creates a dramatic backdrop to the lush velvet sofa and cold quality in the marble. By letting the wallpaper become the focal point, the luxurious interior elements take a backseat but still stay in a cohesive glamorous environment.
Another great use of wallpaper is a little soft serve ice cream shop, called Little Damage also in Downtown LA. Known for its unique flavors and activated charcoal cones and ice cream, it’s become a hit with the Instagram obsessed millennial crowd.
This quaint storefront typically has a 10 – 20 person wait around the block during its peak times.
But what brings these patrons to its door is more than the black activated charcoal ice cream but the fun quirky interior that screams to be photographed. If you google image Little Damage, you’ll often find a series of highly styled Instagram posts of their dessert in front of the black and white plaid wall paper background.
What truly makes this trend exciting is the opportunity for organic viral marketing. In addition to becoming a hip, fun retail space for customer’s to enjoy, it becomes a place for customers to take pictures and share their experiences with the social media community. Making the space a destination point and increasing awareness exponentially.
But what really draws our attention is the unexpected.
Take Trejo’s Cantina in Hollywood, CA. Depending on the time of day, the wall sculptures turn from paper forms to illuminated animals that come to life. Reflecting the calm interiors of the restaurant during the day and the vibrant life inside once the sun goes down.
Can I pet your walls?
One of the most unexpected interior walls is the sheep’s wool lined walls of the ACE HOTEL in LA. This boutique establishment is a youthful, hip, funky place for relaxation and its use of fur covered walls in its lobby sets the atmosphere.
As strikingly unique this wall treatment is, maintenance and cleanliness can be a concern. However, due to its location within the space, it’s isolated for the most part in a low trafficked and weather controlled environment. A durable protective coating like scotch guard should do the trick for extra protection from curious hands.
Chilli Beans (ChilliBeans.com / 395 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401) Tiffany&Co. (tiffany.com / 395 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401) Eighth and Grand (carmelapartments.com/ 770 S Grand Ave), Los Angeles, CA 90017) Little Damage (littledamage.com / 700 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014) Trejo’s Cantina (trejostacos.com / 1556 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 Ace Hotel (acehotel.com / 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015)