As consumers continue to shift their focus to online shopping, retailers are challenged to reinvent the in-store experience as a vibrant destination where people want to meet socially and linger to experience events both day and night. Traditional mall design has focused on an insular approach to consumer behavior, with distinct storefronts that pay little attention to connected placemaking. With a deep understanding of how landscapes can provide respite and support human connection, OJB Landscape Architecture sought to transform Westfield Century City, an existing 1960’s-era mall. OJB Landscape Architecture teamed with Kelly Wearstler, the Westfield Design Studio and project design team to create a transformational outdoor retail experience that injects unique sensory encounters for the modern-day shopper at every level at Westfield’s Century City Flagship Mall.
The landscape design pays attention to each project entry, drawing the shopper in through groves of olive trees adorned with dynamic lighting at the West Santa Monica Boulevard entrance and a distinctive hanging vine planter at the East Santa Monica Boulevard entrance. An additional entry at Constellation Boulevard features geometric paving and sculptural landscape elements. The entries lead visitors to discover eight acres of outdoor space – including plazas, terraces, gardens and water elements. A new central courtyard plaza guides guests through open-air cafés and plazas that house world-class restaurants, while several central event and entertainment spaces activate the site.
A mid-century modern aesthetic informs the curated plantings throughout the project. Groves of olive trees are a nod to the area’s Mediterranean legacy and the sculptural berms feature native grasses and shaded seating enclaves, which provide respite from the sun and shopping.
The thoughtful selection of plantings and architectural planters create layered sensory experiences. The design plays with reflective pools and plants to foster a tranquil green space. Canopies of palm trees float above pools of water to create subtle movement of reflected light and shade. An emphasis on outdoor plazas and terraces within the retail setting are reimagined as a garden respite and urban oasis.
Pathway plantings include climate appropriate specimens selected for their sculptural and textural qualities. Raised planters, olive trees and outdoor fire pits are arranged effortlessly to provide inviting areas for visitors to gather and relax day and night. Green walls and trees planted on structure are strategically integrated into the design, and hanging planters featuring a variety of aromatic plants and flowers provide visual, vertical appeal.
At the centerpiece of the project is the Atrium, a state-of-the-art entertainment and events venue that affords flexible space for a variety of programs, including performances, fashion shows and art exhibits. Two 50-year-old heritage olive trees were carefully preserved and transplanted at the event terrace and are accentuated by a water feature that adds reflected light to the space. Movable planters and furniture allow for ever changing points of interest and activities.
Westfield Century City is a successful design response to changing consumer trends and provides a place that encourages community and connection.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Team: Gensler, Kelly Wearstler Design, Selbert Perkins Design, RA Smith National, HLB Lighting Design
Project location: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Design year: 2014
Year Built: 2017