The Pond LA is coming up this Saturday and Sunday, and we hired one of the top designers to design our space. Andy Byers — who has worked with O Magazine, American Express, DVF for the Gap, and more — will be taking our space and creating a visually breathtaking backdrop for some of the best LA makers, designers, artisans and artists to showcase their work. We caught up with Andy to ask him a few questions regarding this weekend’s events and his thoughts on purchasing.
With The Pond building a new retail experience online, how was that translated into building the physical space?
We wanted people to come in and feel that it was curated, the quality of the product looking and feeling a certain way, whatever that might be. To me, the fact that the online store is curated is its greatest strength.
As Retailpond tries to bring down traditional barriers between consumer and vendors, how was that taken into consideration in building the physical aspects of the launch event?
The main goal was keeping the space consistent, a single standard set for the tone of space, which is again playing curator a bit, forcing vendors to make there product translate on a constant set of constraints. The product should be able to stand alone as long as the design of the space be genuinely considered, be it physical or virtual.
Lately, we’ve seen so many popup shops and craft fairs. How does an event like this stand out?
Well, it feels less like a craft fair with everyones 10×10 space and folding table and more like a retail space where you get to walk around drinking beer and coffee while you shop.
Did you draw from any inspiration, when building this space?
The inspiration came from the sky actually. The space has wonderful natural light and as the sun moved through it’s windows, it cast these beautiful shadows on the ground made from the octagonal shaped columns dividing the room. Once I saw that, I just wanted to make it about the space itself. LA’s architecture is really exciting and often very bizarre and beautiful to me. Coming from Brooklyn with its endless Brownstones and corner stores, it’s a welcome change and I wanted to celebrate that.
You have created some amazing installations for O Magazine and American Express, just to name a few. Any hints of what we can expect this time around?
You can expect to walk around in a cool space and look at some really amazing shit made right here in LA. How’s that? No, seriously, you can expect to drink some really great coffee from LAMill.
For brands and retailers, merchandizing plays a large part in people’s decision to buy. What do you feel is really important for up-and-coming brands that are trying to reach new audiences?
Just make sure your product speaks for itself. If you’ve got to have every flag, flashing light and banner in the world to make your brand look good you might want to consider devoting some of that energy into making a product that can stand alone on a stump, a concrete floor or a glass table. People’s eyes are educated. They can see quality and if your product isn’t made well, it’s incredibly obvious. Over-designing a half worked out product is the best way to send your company straight to nowhere.
Recently moving to California from Brooklyn, what the best things about LA? Any recommendations for the best spots or local companies?
Going to the movies anywhere in LA has never been better. To watch it in the town where it happens is pretty hypnotic. OtherWild is a goods store in Echo Park whose owners are totally amazing. What else, I recently became gluten free and Rainbow Acres Grocery Store on Washington Blvd has the best selection of gluten free goods ever. And their label’s awesome, it’s a rainbow! Also, there’s a Vans shoe store right next to it, best shoes in the world… Except for Soiyl, who will be selling their amazing shoes at the event. Come out and buy a pair.
What LA artists have caught your eye, since moving West?
Best thing I’ve seen all year was the Laura Owens show at Ooga Booga. Her paintings were absolutely amazing. I went to see them three times, more than I’ve ever gone to one show before. The scale of them, the quality of paint on these massive canvas and how it broke from this masking technique she was using. It was incredibly moving. I walked about 100 feet from seeing the first one and by the time I had come face to face with it there were tears in my eyes. Best paintings in a single show I have ever seen. There’s also a director Augustus Punch whose been making some pretty amazing commercials out here. I’m setting my sights right now to working on big projects with them. That’s why you move out here, right?