California Jeweler Hoorsenbuhs Opens Store With a Mini Skate Park and Geodesic Dome
Favored by Rihanna and David Beckham, the brand shows off the best of California culture in its first West Coast store.
What defines a modern Los Angeles jewelry brand more than diamonds, gold, Astroturf, burnt wood and sound baths?
In its first store on the West Coast, Hoorsenbuhs highlights the best of California culture by combining all these elements. Thirteen years after photographer Robert Keith started the company named after a 16th century merchant ship steered by one of his ancestors, the brand has opened a starkly modern space at 2217 Main St. in Santa Monica, which, in addition to the 1,500-square-foot retail store, also houses its atelier, offices and an Astroturf-covered roof deck where a geodesic dome looms over the coastal skyline. Inside the gallery-like shop, which displays massive artworks by Damien Hirst and Wes Lang amid the scent of extinguished Palo Santo wood, almost every single piece of furniture was made by the brand to reflect either the anchor chain used on the titular ship or its signature Phantom ring, which consists of two round bands linked by a solid bar.
The minimalist but masculine decor is enhanced by an iron-paned glass facade, a low cement coffee table supported by chain-link legs and a 175-pound chair that resembles the Phantom ring in brass with a leather seat. Hoorsenbuhs also made the brass vault door that separates the shop from the atelier and offices.
“And we even cast the bolts,” said Kether Parker, a partner and the brand director at Hoorsenbuhs, pointing out the thousands of brass bits securing the black wood covering the store’s walls. Certainly, the edict guiding the store’s design “was to make enough ourselves and have everything right on brand,” he said.
Plus, “it was the right time” to open Hoorsenbuhs’ first permanent store, which happens to be located across the street from its former showroom and studio, said Parker. In addition to expanding sales directly to consumers, the company can display its growing array of merchandise. One corner is occupied by $150 white T-shirts enhanced by a curved shoulder yoke, $525 ripstop nylon sweatpants, $1,250 leather backpacks, $1,400 cashmere blankets and other apparel made in Los Angeles. “We don’t have a wholesale model with any of this stuff,” Parker said.
For this holiday season, Hoorsenbuhs introduced a 12-piece range of bold eyewear, handmade in Japan with zyl, sterling silver and 24K gold plating, priced between $745 and $795. Next spring, it plans to expand the optical lineup with titanium frames.
“We’ve grown steadily at a nice pace,” Parker said.
As glitzy as the brand might seem — with its ongoing collaboration based on Hirst’s pill series (the $7,500 gold cufflinks exemplify wearable art) and celebrity clientele that includes Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Beckham and Mary-Kate Olsen — Hoorsenbuhs isn’t big on partying. Instead, “we’re going to do experiences for our customers,” Parker said. The one-of-a-kind activities include a mini skate park built out of matte black wood, leather palm trees and gold foil tiles by Beast Pants, which also customized the finger-sized boards for the brand. “Usually the mom is buying jewelry and the kids play on it,” he said of the window display.
Customers are also welcome to tour the building and check out the motorcycles parked in the back near the kitchen island and sleeping mats arranged in a circle on the concrete floor. “Part of our brand is us,” Parker said. “You get to be part of the brand.”
On the roof, a geodesic dome houses the brand’s other experiments with experiential retail. As part of the store’s grand opening, it hosted sound baths catered with vegan morsels. Parker said future events could include lectures and TED talks: “We want to do something different in L.A."
Hoorsenbuhs, 2217 Main St., Santa Monica