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Beyond Topiary

Pretty in Pink: Downtown Los Angeles Community Gathering Spaces Punctuated by Color

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Years before initial work began in Grand Park—a 12-acre community space located in the civic center of Los Angeles, CA—the award-winning team at RIOS went to work extensively researching the neighborhood’s history and gathering input from stakeholders, public officials, and local organizations with the goal of collecting feedback from the people who would be enjoying the park and generating unified interest and participation from the community. Their findings informed that playgrounds, dog-friendly spaces, shady trees, and an emphasis on wellness were primary focuses. With those objectives in mind, RIOS set out to create “The Park for Everyone.”

The park, designed to provide an important link between Los Angeles’ architecture and cultural icons, is part of an ongoing project to reimagine the broader scope of downtown Los Angeles in support of providing spectacular community spaces and multicultural hubs. Grand Park, as one element of this collaborative venture, celebrates the millions of people from around the world who inhabit or visit Los Angeles, and the expansive space is furnished with “everyone” in mind. Inspired by the retro lawn chairs previously found at five and dime stores, RIOS, in collaboration with JANUS et Cie, designed the custom Civic collection, a series of chairs and benches that elevated the design’s humble beginnings. In using such a nostalgic approach to Grand Park’s furnishings, RIOS created seating areas that members of the community could relate to.

To truly create a destination that would provide an escape from the surrounding industrial buildings and concrete structures, it was important to the community to incorporate color in a big way. RIOS had thoroughly researched colors that corresponded to the plants populating Grand Park’s stunning gardens, and their findings revealed hot pink as a common thread among the foliage and among world cultures—evocative of blooming flowers and bright energy.

Designed as a custom solution for this transformative project, Civic has since become part of JANUS et Cie’s standard offering available in three standard neutral hues with endless custom options.

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