It’s harvest time at Gentle Monster’s new boutique in Los Angeles

Cult Korean eyewear specialist Gentle Monster has opened its second US flagship in Downtown Los Angeles
Cult Korean eyewear specialist Gentle Monster has opened its second US flagship in Downtown Los Angeles. Courtesy of Gentle Monster
(Image credit: TBC)

You’d not be remiss if you thought you’d inadvertently wandered off Broadway onto the set of The Addams Family. Perched atop mother of pearl platforms, a mechanical troupe of Cousin Itt-like figures sashaying in a darkly-lit space makes for a startling sight. These are, in fact, ‘scarecrows’ that are guarding the entrance to Gentle Monster’s new boutique in Downtown Los Angeles, opened earlier this month.

The cult Korean eyewear label’s second US flagship after New York, the 5,000 sq ft store ‘leads visitors on a journey through the stages of harvest’ by way of moving installations, surreal sculptures and handcrafted objects. There’s a gently undulating ‘rice field’ comprising 2,000 metallic rods, while rugs by Korean knitting designer Misu A Barbe bring a softness to the polished space. Eyewear is displayed on marble and metal shelving which take their cues from the blades of crop tractors.

The paddy fields at Gentle Monster’s harvest themed Los Angeles boutique

The ‘paddy fields’ at Gentle Monster’s harvest-themed Los Angeles boutique. Courtesy of Gentle Monster

(Image credit: TBC)

The centrepiece is a kinetic installation by artist Jung Uk Yang that is inspired by threshing. The multi-layered artwork combines traditional machinery with modern design, while a repetitive bell sound (symbolising the end of the harvest process) entices visitors deeper into the store. It’s an offbeat aesthetic that has become associated with Korea’s creative scene, from films to fashion – then again Korean fashion designers do kooky-cool like no one else.

Founded in 2011 by former curator and professor Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster is known for its conceptual store designs, which have previously referenced launderettes, bathhouses, and the scientific laws of entropy, no less. More recently, the brand set up shop in Singapore with a moveable feast inspired by Samsara, Ron Fricke’s acclaimed non-narrative documentary from 2011.

The Seoul-based brand releases 140 completely new styles each year, and counts Opening Ceremony, Henrik Vibskov and Hood by Air among its collaborators. It also acts as an incubator for a number of creative installations, from an experimental bakery, to a garden post office, a conceptual pop-up hotel, and a ‘smash pong’ court (the brand’s brilliantly bonkers take on ping pong). Last month, LVMH invested $60 million – or a seven per cent stake – in the company, so expect to see Gentle Monster’s creative cache soar. Up next for the label: a collaboration with Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Eyewear is displayed on marble shelving inspired by tractor blades

Eyewear is displayed on marble shelving inspired by tractor blades. Courtesy of Gentle Monster

(Image credit: TBC)

The centrepiece is a kinetic installation by artist Jung Uk Yang

The centrepiece is a kinetic installation by artist Jung Uk Yang. Courtesy of Gentle Monster

(Image credit: TBC)

A gently undulating rice field comprising 2,000 handmade metallic rods

A gently undulating ‘rice field’ comprising 2,000 handmade metallic rods. Courtesy of Gentle Monster

(Image credit: TBC)

Scarecrows on a mother of pearl display greet visitors at the entrance to the boutique

‘Scarecrows’ on a mother of pearl display greet visitors at the entrance to the boutique. Courtesy of Gentle Monster

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION
For more information, visit the Gentle Monster website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Gentle Monster
816 S Broadway
Los Angeles CA 90014

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