After launching in 2008, Brooklyn-based fragrance company D.S. & Durga garnered a cult following for their immersive approach to scent. Now, the brand, cofounded by David and Kavi Moltz, is expanding to the West Coast with the help of frequent collaborator, global architecture practice Woods Bagot. Located on Abbott Kinney, the Los Angeles outpost continues the design DNA of the brand’s previous sites as it interweaves California’s influence and modernism.
Upon entry, the store’s ceiling immediately draws the eye. Above, clean-cut lines of concrete form a radial design, achieved by placing a cement coating on a spoke-shaped frame. If it looks similar to architect John Lautner’s Elrod House, that’s because it is. Kavi, who studied architecture in California, was inspired by Lautner’s sculptural ceiling. The homage ties into the brand’s cement-clad New York spaces and contemporary style while adding a West Coast spin.
Principal and interior designer at Woods Bagot, Krista Ninivaggi, incorporated other subtle references to the fragrance company’s new locale by implementing warmer materials and color, like Douglas Fir used in the accents and shelving, sandy tones, and darker earthy hues as in the brown concrete floors. Two display cases reference the brand’s Brooklyn locations with their striated design which the firm made using poured concrete, meant to evoke rammed earth. Coupled with the slightly curved walls, this adds warmth to an otherwise minimal and stark space, lending this outpost a personality distinct, yet not lost, from its New York counterparts.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a D.S. & Durga store if it didn’t engage multiple senses. Enter: the ancillary room. At the back of the store, the warm modernism departs to a dramatic sparseness. The trowelled walls, coated in a metal alloy made in collaboration with Kamp Studios, glint and gleam under the skylight. In the modernist lair rest only three plinths to showcase special scents. They are set under a programmable LED light so that customers can sample each fragrance under different conditions. It’s a visual manifestation of the brand’s multisensory approach, as well as David’s synesthesia.
With this L.A. venture, Woods Bargot continues to evolve and execute the brand’s narrative in surprising ways. This warmer, California-inspired exploration transports customers to D.S. & Durga’s unique Venice world just as they seek to transport customers through olfactory senses.