After 54 years of calling Southern California home, classic skateboard and surf icon Vans embarked on a journey to create their first community-driven retail and event space in Downtown Los Angeles. A longtime partner in Irvine, CA, and now primary firm in North America, MG2 worked closely with the Vans team on designing their newest and largest flagship, creating an elevated hybrid experience environment that goes above and beyond, signifying a new era for the brand.
Occupying three floors of the historic Singer Building, House of Vans needed to be meticulously designed with optimized vertical navigation and overlapping pathways to ensure a seamless customer experience. Also essential was the implementation of unique, above-and-beyond elements, such as a kitchen and mobile bar, that would require navigating the complexities of local permits and compliances to include in their hybrid retail space.
“Our Downtown LA store opening signifies a new Vans chapter as we continue our mission and commitment to being community and experience focused.”Carly Gomez, VP of Marketing Americas, Vans
After working together for years, MG2 acted as the primary architecture partner for House of Vans DTLA: their largest and most ambitious flagship to date at 11,500 sq/ft. This intimate knowledge of and partnership with their brand allowed for seamless transparency, trust, and collaboration throughout the duration of the project.
The team acted as a sounding board, facilitator, and champion for structure functionality, materials, costs, and branding efforts throughout the space’s design. With the advantage of being local to the area, MG2 was deeply familiar with and able to traverse the intricacies of city permit and compliance logistics.
Holding true to their dedication to sustainability, and in direct reflection of Vans’ brand values, we utilized as many raw materials, elements of the original historic building, and sustainable energy fixtures throughout the space as possible.
Adorned in plywood, concrete, chain link, local art, and Van’s signature black and white checkerboard, the new environment holistically reflects their SoCal heritage and attitude, while allowing them space to broaden their demographic beyond skating and surfing and appeal to the next generation of consumers.
Over the course of the project, the team observed first-hand the excitement and enthusiasm from local government and consumers alike for Vans to revitalize this previously abandoned space and help reinfuse art, music, and culture back into the historic neighborhood.
Currently the largest Vans space in the world—and second largest experimental retail space in the neighborhood—House of Vans DTLA opened to the public in spring of 2020 and features fresh work from local artists, a dedicated community experience studio, and of course, a wide range of exclusive Vans footwear, apparel, and accessories.