Words Leo Bear
It’s no secret that the last decade has seen a mass exodus of creative people from New York to Los Angeles. Fresh blood has re-invigorated the City Of Angels – particularly Downtown, where contemporary galleries, edgy hotels and organic food courts continue to spring up. So it comes as quite a surprise to find the city’s most talked-about new design showroom hidden in the laurel-studded hills of Trousdale Estates, a neighbourhood of Beverly Hills. But ‘Casa Perfect’ aims to surprise.
The property, a modernist villa designed in the 1950s by the architect Rex Lotery, was already a dazzling example of mid-century architecture but when the visionaries behind The Future Perfect got their hands on it and set in motion a meticulous renovation, what emerged was a private shopping experience like no other. Launched by David Alhadef in 2003, The Future Perfect provides a platform for established and emerging designers, and this new showroom in the Hollywood Hills joins sister establishments in New York and San Francisco. Far from a hip design district, the Casa is located in one of Los Angeles’ golden-era neighbourhoods: the Trousdale Estates. The area’s home to Greystone Mansion (currently an in-demand filming location) and a smattering of audacious builds by architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Wallace Neff and Harold Levitt, all commissioned in the 1960s and ’70s. Past residents include Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Richard Nixon. Casa Perfect has celebrity history of its own. In 1967, it was snapped up by the king of rock ’n’ roll, Elvis Presley. The singer spent six happy years in the property with his wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie, and it was during this time that he produced tracks like Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind.
The Casa overflows with bold abstraction and vivid colours from some of the world’s most influential artists, designers and craftspeople. Intact original features include curved walls, marble fireplaces and coffered ceilings, all of which bring a deliciously retro vibe, while spherical light wells infuse the interior with glorious technicolour. Casa Perfect follows a similar model to The Future Perfect’s showrooms in New York and San Francisco. Neutral walls, mirrored surfaces and polished parquet flooring provide a tempered canvas for both studio-created works and limited-edition items, and guests are encouraged to wander around the rooms at their own pace. Mi casa, su casa. Much of the work is from The Future Perfect’s regular stable of designers: Lindsey Adelman (light sculptures), Piet Hein Eek (furniture) and Dimore Studio (responsible for Fendi’s Sloane Street store) alongside original pieces by up-and-coming LA locals, and there are plenty of international names in the mix too. Stand-outs include a collection of vivacious stools from the Venezuelan ceramicist and furniture-maker Reinaldo Sanguino, and a range of Missoni-style floor coverings by Shore Rugs, an avant-garde London-based brand that hand weaves rugs from non-toxic silicon. Practically everything you see in the Casa is available to buy, but much more than just picking up a one-of-a-kind object for the home, visitors are treated to sweeping views of Los Angeles, rugged mountain backdrops and a quirky Hockney-esque swimming pool.
A homage to LA living, a love letter to contemporary design and a shopping experience like no other. Elvis may well have ‘left the building’ but Casa Perfect still hits all the right notes.