Interior Architecture student Naira Petrosian won the IIDA SoCal Student Design Expo People’s Choice Award with her studio project ‘Better Not Gone’, with Interim Chair Lara Hoad and faculty member Todd Erlandson as her advisors. The project was a full-service, branded experiential environment with production, retail, and residential in Santa Monica for the Patagonia brand.
Better Not Gone
A full service branded experiential environment with production, retail, and residential are created in an existing building in Santa Monica for the sustainable brand, Patagonia. It grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing—as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, mountain biking and trail running. These are silent sports. None require an engine; rarely do they deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection with nature. With that being said, Patagonia as a brand has really distinguished themselves from other similar brands in their brand values and hold the mission statement; “we’re in business to save our home planet”.
The sole purpose for their being is to do their part in saving the planet. Patagonia’s Recrafted program makes clothes made from other clothes. Created from thousands of used garments diverted from the landfill, sorted and salvaged at their Reno Repair Center, designed to see the potential in the things left behind, and finally deconstructed and sewn in Los Angeles—this collection shows the true force of what radical acts of imagination can become. The Recrafted strategy has been applied to the interior spaces. Considering Los Angeles’ housing crisis the program marries compact housing for Patagonia Recrafted apprentices with the necessary production and retail spaces to create a closed loop system where the revenue from the product feeds the apprenticeship program.
Keeping in mind Patagonia brand values and reflecting their commitment to the climate crisis, the building focuses on a central production area with living units in shipping containers, as well as, retail, spread throughout the spaces. Moreover, the idea of a park is developed to bring the outdoor love to the production spaces where inspiration will be taken place from working in a “park”. The mind will have a connection to the natural world while being creative. To elaborate, the production spaces are a part of the Recrafted program where the creative process of cutting and pattern-making with recycled Patagonia clothing take place. Also, the clothing will be sold on site.
When people navigate through the space, they get sneak peaks of how the clothes are being made as they peak through the production area behind the recycled cardboard tube dividers. Therefore, a recycled glass dome is present to bring in light and create a connection to the outdoors. All materials used are either made from radically recycled materials or have been upcycled. For instance, the curtains for the production area are from local recycled fishing nets. Another example, the fitting room curtains are made from recycled clothes through the same patchwork. Lastly, the experience of the spaces resemble being outdoors and also connects people to the importance of a love for the planet. This importance is shown throughout the spaces and inspire people to join the brand’s philosophy of actively engaging in solutions for our only planet.