While in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago I soaked in a little more than sunny skies and heavy traffic. I spied Platform LA, an eye-catching retail concept situated in the often skipped over, but up-and-coming, Culver City. At first, the shopping district appears to take the form of a familiar outdoor mall but quickly revealed a refreshing twist – one-off retailers, restaurants, and art galleries for a destination-worthy, shopping experience. Platform LA serves up a branded shopping experience with a distinct “between the brands” expression that comes across through their tailored curation of retailers, a commitment to the arts, respite inspired landscaping, and an encouraging tone of voice that acts as a playful counter to their on-site wayfinding.

While Platform LA was beautiful in and of itself, most of the featured retailers provided their own unique aesthetic and elevated service to further resonate with today’s shopper. Here are a few of the retailers that caught my eye and forced me to pull out my camera.

Rabbit Ladders presents whimsical kids apparel and accessories within an adorable and engaging flat-cut perimeter system. Flexible island display fixtures and tools allow for various tiers of merchandise and are sure to inspire any shopper (at any age) to play with the product.

Loqui is a scrumptious (while efficient) fast casual-ish taco concept that hangs its hat on uber-delicious handmade tortillas and a killer open-air patio for an unforgettable taste experience. The dried peppers strung up across the painted cinder block wall and open kitchen set-up keep your attention where it should be – on the food!

The Tom Dixon store is gorgeous! Combining Tom Dixon’s interior design products and accessories with the curated apparel of fashion boutique Curve – the store applies a gallery-like approach to product and storytelling. Product displays and fixtures are over-scaled and integrate within the architecture to provide a strong sense of drama and clarity that further elevates the merchandise. Of particular inspiration to me was the huge zig zag chunky marble shelf display that was beautiful and probably weighs a bajillion pounds. Within the store footprint, square footage is allotted to feature a rotating feature designer collection (Cynthia Rowley) while a tall slatted partition divides the store from a cafe/ champagne bar that feels like a natural aesthetic extension of the main store design.

L.A. based Reformation realized their built experience in a stripped-to-the-bare-essentials environment – all white walls, concrete floors, and exposed wooden ceiling. When you walk in, the space forces guests to make an immediate choice: shop the streamlined collection on the racks to the left – or – shop the digital touch screens on the right. The staff is on-hand to gather selections in your size and set you up with a fitting room, putting emphasis on service when it counts the most.

This Bird location is the brand’s first west coast foray after beginning their shop in Brooklyn. The store design is yet another thoughtfully designed expression that offers guests a cohesive, well-curated mix of established and up-and-coming designer, women’s apparel brands. Even though none of the product was for me, I still found myself enamored by the simplicity and beauty of the store’s materials and ability to provide an escape and focus as I moved through the rooms.