Manhattan Beach, CA
The expansion to the existing Manhattan Village Mall sets the shopping environment in a garden-like setting with a sophisticated, contemporary, coastal feel.
The heart of the landscape design is the Plaza, or central park area, which acts as the main gathering point of the center, with easy connections to the city streets, parking garages, interior mall, and exterior shopping areas. The Plaza is designed on an inviting and intimate scale while featuring a composition of surrounding retail and restaurant buildings that feel more like a modern interpretation of a classic town square.
The level of detail and layering feels like a seaside residential garden, while coastal waters and the beach inspired the soft, curvilinear lines. Under a bed of artificial turf, sculpted raised ground represents beach sand dunes, softly creating different destinations and experiences. Flat expanses on these low dunes allow warm, sunny inclines for guests to rest on, or slightly elevated seating for seasonal events programmed to take place in the Plaza. Built-in wood benches incorporated into the turf dunes and planting areas create long runs of seating in a variety of areas in the Plaza.
The open, park-like environment doesn’t dictate a formal path where pedestrians should walk but rather allows them to move freely. The planting and water also form smaller seating destinations for multiple uses and seasons (including a fire table for cooler days/nights), that are intimately separate, and still allow for a comfortable, visually open space, with views of the retail shops. Scattered throughout is eclectic pottery in light beige, silver, ocean blues and greys in different textures and finishes, conveying the feeling of a home landscape, and pieces that were acquired and positioned over time.
The movement and visual qualities of water inspired the two fountain designs while creating a variety of highly interactive and sensory experiences for the guest. Both fountains are made from a dark grey, formed-in-place concrete and smooth grey river cobble that gives the water a rich, cool feeling, and lends itself to a reflection of the surroundings.
The brand-new Cedar Avenue, lined with beautiful Pink Lavender Trumpet Trees and 25’ Medjool date palms, borders one end of the Plaza, allowing convenient vehicular and pedestrian circulation through the center, while offering a natural expansion of the Plaza on the weekends. The street can be closed for a variety of programming throughout the year, like farmer’s markets, car shows, and art festivals.
The paving for the exterior spaces creates a harmonious connection with the existing flooring inside the interior mall. Precast concrete linear and block pavers, in a striped grey and beige design, emanate from the mall entrances and flow into the streetscape and across to the Plaza. As the design enters the curving forms of the Plaza, the stripe motif weaves around the space, creating a processional that leads all the way to 33rd Street, further referencing the coast by evoking the idea of a cabana or beach towel stripe. Fields of gridded saw-cut grey and beige concrete complete the scene as the paving turns into the running streetscape along the storefronts.