D.S. & Durga’s L.A. outpost by Woods Bagot nods to California-inspired modernism

Perfume Poetics

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.

A perfume store features concrete floors and neutral tones against earthy hues
The store combines earthy concrete flooring with warm tones to reference the locale (Jenna Peffley)

A perfume store is defined by its sculptural ceiling
Woods Bagot created graphic shelving niches by using solid surface material (Jenna Peffley)

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.

The ceiling is a concrete radial sculpture, inspired by the one in John Lautner’s Elrod House
The ceiling is a concrete radial sculpture, inspired by the one in John Lautner’s Elrod House (Jenna Peffley)

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.

A room in the back of a store features a wall coated in metal alloys
The backroom of the store is dark departure from the front with walls, coated in a metal alloy (Jenna Peffley)

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.

For perfume store's display, a striated design was used by pouring concrete
Woods Bagot references the brand’s New York location with striated displays made using poured concrete (Jenna Peffley)

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.