West of West develops and evolves a design medium for three GLCO stores

Envisioning Retail

With a decade-long relationship with Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO), architecture and research practice West of West is intimately familiar with the eyewear company’s visual and brand identity. The architects’ latest work for GLCO includes three stores, one in Los Angeles and two in New York. In looking at all three together, it’s clear West of West has developed and evolved a design language for the brand.

The interior design of the three stores reflects the impeccable craftsmanship and timeless design of GLCO glasses. Simple geometries, Baltic birch plywood, orange-tinted glass, and their signature 4×4 tiles repeat throughout the three retail spaces, completed between 2021 and 2023. Yet the result feels far from monotonous; West of West allows for individual quirks that differentiate the spaces and maintain a cohesive design.

A utilitarian style and clean linearity run through the Silver Lake store and help make the small space feel less cramped (HANA)

GLCO Silver Lake

Located on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is the GLCO Silver Lake store. For the 600-square-foot retail space, West of West incorporated contemporary elements while adapting the brand’s utilitarian style for a small space. As one enters, they are first greeted by a large display case built from Baltic birch and soft lighting to exhibit the various eyewear. The display case offers a happy medium between the original cool concrete floor and the exposed wooden truss ceiling. Located in the middle of the space is a custom island cabinet with a display case which continues the material theme of birch. The rectangular body of the island incorporates shelving in a fern green laminate and orange drawer handles. The bright color is repeated in the Optical Lab located at the back of the store. GLCO’s signature white wall tiles peek through the tinted glass panes, tying the outpost to the rest of the brand’s stores.

The layout of the store is set up to mirror a city block (Brian W. Ferry)

At the back of the store, an installation features vertically paneled walls that make a saturated departure from the neutral font half of the store (Brian W. Ferry)

GLCO Mulberry

Located in Manhattan’s charming Nolita neighborhood is the largest of the three stores and a recipient of AN’s 2023 Best of Design Award in the Interior — Retail category. The three primary functions of the space are spread throughout one room to mirror a city block. Patrons begin in the GLCO collection showroom where the display case remains consistent with the stores’ materiality, but here they are met with multiple smaller white laminate counter islands topped with vitrine-like display cases. After passing through the showroom, guests engage with the opticians in the Optical Lab, again signified by the orange box. Unlike the other two sibling stores, the Mulberry location has an installation for the brand’s luxury line, Mr. Leight. The vertically paneled and textured walls are drenched in a rose-colored hue making a saturated departure from other stores. Upon entrance, guests get a subtle peek at the back of the store, as the dark maroon walls invite contrast to the neutral tones located in front.

The birch plywood shelving motif is done with a vertical, off-the-wall twist in the Brooklyn outpost (Brian W. Ferry)

A service counter with a reflective mirror finish anchors the front of the space (Brian W. Ferry)

GLCO Brooklyn

GLCO Brooklyn is the last of the three stores designed by West of West. The 1,010-square-foot store has the similar urban block layout as Mulberry and maintains its material motif, only with more built-in shelves and counters. West of West used the material to create vertical plywood fins, cut by three horizontal layers of individualized copper, to hold the new frames. Behind the wooden beams is a rose gold–colored mirror wall—a subtle link to the Mr. Leight display at the Mulberry Street outpost. In this mirror, guests see their own reflections among the frames and a loud, abstract art piece. In place of a setting sun is an eyeball, where color—red, blue, black, and white—again filters its way into the space.