Among our favorite places in Los Angeles is the Arcana bookstore in Culver City. It’s specialized in “books on the arts,” and its collection of books on art, design, photography, architecture and anything aesthetically significant is vast, comprehensive, and well-organized. They seem to have everything. Though Arcana is a business, its ambiance, interior design and space give it a feel that’s more like a library, albeit a handsome, spare, minimalist, post-modern library in a former industrial space. There are long communal tables upon which customers can lay heavy tomes of art and page through these books at a leisurely pace. It’s one of the best bookstores in the world. If GlobalGraphica was an actual place, Arcana would be our preferred physical manifestation of it, though with a kick-ass espresso machine and a rack full of surfboards included.
The flagship store of cosmetics brand Hourglass is a testament of exemplary, beautiful retail design. The shop is located on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard near Venice Beach in Los Angeles, and the space is so “on brand” that the experience of the space feels like part of the product itself in ways similar to that the aesthetic minimalism of an Apple store and iPhone.
The cafe in the garden of the Nezu Museum in Aoyama, in Tokyo, is a striking example of minimalist architectural design and contemporary Japanese aesthetics. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls on three sides of the rectangular space give a full view of the garden and spectacular autumn foliage. A Japanese washi paper design is part of the ceiling material and allows diffused light into the space. This is one of more contemplative spaces in Tokyo and a fine place to while away an hour in reflection, sipping a coffee or tea.
The innovative, popular and charitable shoe-making company Toms has recently opened a coffee roaster and cafe in an airy bungalow that doubles as a concept store in the fashionable Abbott-Kinney neighborhood of Venice, in Los Angeles.