Go West Adams, Young ManAuthor:Abigail Stone
For Architect Mark Rios of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, the decision to move his firm to West Adams was a no-brainer, and he’s not alone. The enclave, just south of the
10 Freeway and east of Culver City, is experiencing a rebirth. “It’s an amazing location, connected by the Expo line, centered between downtown L.A. and the Westside, and close to LAX.” One of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods, it was abandoned when the city expanded west and many of the elite who built an eclectic mix of homes—from ornate Victorians to Craftsman bungalows—relocated to oceanfront properties.
Artists were the first to rediscover the area, lured by large spaces and cheap rent. Sculptor Joel Morrison, who’s been here since 2002, was drawn to West Adams due to its close proximity to the craftspeople he relies on to create his complex stainless steel works. Painter Kenny Scharf and photographer Catherine Opie also have studios nearby.
Large-scale developments suggest that change is imminent. There are rumors of a craft beer hall opening at 5645 West Adams; the renowned interior design firm House of Honey is working on the large mixed-use project at 3321 La Cienega; and the (W)rapper, a 17-story office tower designed by architect Eric Owen Moss, is heading skyward on the corner of National and Jefferson.
Rios suggests starting the neighborhood tour at Tak’s Coffee Shop, which serves up both soul food and Japanese fare. For an El Salvadorean twist on breakfast, try Honey Bee’s House of Breakfast. Alexandra Mason of Ferrick Mason, who used to have a studio nearby, recommends Mel’s Fish Shack for lunch. “I could drink their homemade ginger dressing by the cupful!” she says. Morrison counts on Taqueria Los Anaya, adding: “In a town full of great Mexican food, I really think this is the best.”
The neighborhood is quickly becoming known as a place to find unique furnishings and design treasures. Michele Sommerlath of Galerie Sommerlath opens Le Depot, her warehouse filled with furniture, lighting and decor, every Wednesday. Contemporary furniture from the likes of Ligne Roset, B&B Italia and Minotti, can be found at great prices at Modern Resale.
Small galleries are also springing up: The Landing, founded by Gerard O’Brien of Reform Gallery, presents work that straddles the line between craft and art. MuzeuMM, Gallery 38, Ochi Projects and Joan are also worth exploring. And there’s a gallery attached to Delicious Pizza, which also sells their N.Y.-style pies by the slice.
WHERE TO GO IN WEST ADAMS:
Tak’s Coffee Shop: 3870 Crenshaw Blvd. #101
Honey Bee’s House of Breakfast: 4715 W. Adams Blvd.
Le Depot: 4321 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Modern Resale: 4413 W. Jefferson Blvd.