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about us AkarStudios is a team of designers immersed in a cross-discipline practice that specializes in retail, hospitality, lighting, graphics and branding design. We value partnership with our clients in creating strong and visually engaging customer experiences in all of the work we produce. In our Santa Monica studio we develop projects for a wide variety of clients from the retail, food and print sectors. The studio has a successful 15-year history, during which it has been a recipient of several awards and citations for its innovative designs.

design process On any project, large or small, our in-house design team works in close collaboration with the client team using an approach that is completely open and inclusionary. Foremost, we listen to our clients and ascertain their broad objectives in establishing a design direction. Gaining an understanding of the client’s requirements and strategic direction is paramount for us, helping us to be more creative and allowing us to focus on issues and problems from a broader angle. Our design approach is basically a step-by-step process—an ongoing engagement that utilizes our team’s full creative talents and resources. The initial concepts are always first undertaken in a traditional proven manner using hand-drawn pen-and-pencil sketches. From the sketches, the vision gradually evolves into computer-rendered layouts and vivid three-dimensional views, ensuring a direction that incorporates the structure and content of the project.

project example Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi

Scope: Interiors I Branding | Environmental Graphics Wicker Park Bar’s 104-seat venue, at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, is distinguished by its clean, dramatically lit glass fronted bar with an illuminated overhead soffit suspended from the roof trusses above. The bar extends almost 60 feet to form an enclosed rectangular structure, offering stunning views of the runway outside. Offsetting the long bar, on either end, are intimate lounge seating areas incorporating cabana-type structures.

project example Tanzore

Scope: Architecture | Interior Design | Branding | Environmental Graphics Result of a major refit, the new Indian venue located on La Cienega Boulevard integrates a bar, lounge, restaurant and a private room within a modern setting that has a distinctly eastern undercurrent in its ambience. The interior spaces are swathed in colorful hues to create a befitting backdrop for the Indian artifacts and contemporary culinary creations that define this place. The lounge area has a polished white stone bar with an array of rosewood bands highlighting this intimate space. Offsetting the bar and lounge areas are a series of dining venues defined by an intervening water channel, large wood screens and wall graphics. This venue has created a new benchmark for the collection of restaurants on the famed Restaurant Row on La Cienega.

project example Crescent Heights

Scope: Architecture | Interior Design A modern venue, rendered in hues of brown and taupe colors, it takes casual dining experience to a whole new level. The interior dining space is defined by a complex ceiling assembly comprising of a series of undulating ceiling planes which act in concert to create a signature backdrop for the restaurant’s distinct, yet interacting spaces. The bar occupies a central and pivotal location providing a focal point for the restaurant. The adjacent lounge, with a large glass window affording a view of the kitchen, has low sofas and ottomans that are grouped together to create an intimate seating arrangement.

project example Kelly’s Kookies

Scope: Store Planning and Design I Fixture Design | Graphic Design Clean and modern minimalism is the defining aesthetic of this retail concept specializing in gift-wrapped cookies. The predominantly white interior of the space highlights the merchandise as its main focus. A striking feature of the retail space is the wall mural defining the cash wrap area. The digitally printed mural incorporates an abstract design of the store’s branding logo juxtaposed over a mosaic pattern printed in mocha hues. Minimalism being the key, the fixtures have clean lines and are finished in a white translucent stain.

project example HealthySpot

Scope: Branding I Store Planning and Design I Fixture Design I Signage This project best illustrates the outcome of our hands-on approach to design and project execution. The project was commissioned by a start-up entity with no prior experience in the retail sector. Our design team played a key role in creating the brand, along with a multitude of components that include store layout, signage, comprehensive color palette, fixture design and the overall graphic theme for the store interiors. The success of the first store has led to the subsequent development of a second location in the city of West Hollywood.

project example EarthBar

Scope: Branding I Store Planning and Design I Fixture Design I Signage AkarStudios were commissioned to reinvigorate an existing and tired retail concept specializing in health food supplements and nutrients. The new identity that we created introduces a more modern look appealing to a sophisticated urban audience. As part of the overall program, we explored more creative ways to merchandize the products and developed the interior design of their new store format. Sustainable and recycled materials played a key part in this transformation, ensuring the freshness and relevance of the brand. AkarStudios has a long-term relationship with the brand and is engaged in developing other formats and associated retail concepts.

project example Blanca

Scope: Architecture I Interior Design Transformed from an old bicycle shop, Blanca has come a long way. Tipped as one of the sexiest dining rooms in San Diego, AkarStudios designed Blanca with elegance in mind. Its subtle hues and refined lighting combine with rich zebra wood and white polished concrete, setting the stage for a sophisticated yet intimate fine dining experience.

project example Vertical Wine Bistro

Scope: Architecture | Interior Design | Branding Located on the second floor of a historic building in Old Town Pasadena, the space underwent a radical transformation to become the exclusive Vertical Wine Bistro. Serving as the venue’s focal point is the bar, accented with raw steel and illuminated from the seemingly floating frosted wine racks above. Dividing the dining room from the wine bar is a large glass enclosure containing the wine storage, creating a semi transparent wall that allows light and reflection to transfer between spaces, yet communicating two very separate rooms, each with it’s own architectural vocabulary.

project example Seoul Bros.

Scope: Interior Design | Store Front | Environmental Graphics Designed in clean, simple lines, the homogenous space has modern finishes running throughout. The wood covered ceiling and the dark brown flooring combine to create a sophisticated dining space for this fastfood venue. The bold imagery of the wall murals, created by AkarStudios for this space, adds an exotic flair to this urban location.

project example Ix Tapa

Scope: Interior Design | Branding | Environmental Graphics A remarkable corner site in Pasadena’s Old Town district, the purpose-built destination space is built over two floors in a historical listed building on Arroyo Boulevard. Result of a major retrofit, Ix Tapa is a contemporary sports bar incorporating colorful nuances of Ixtapa’s coastline in a theater-like setting with modern furniture and light fixtures. Consisting of two bars, multiple dining spaces, lounge and a dance floor, the modern, multi-faceted venue has a distinctly Latin-inspired feel that avoids clichés.

project example Main Street Apartments

Scope: Architecture | Interior Design | Lighting Design The ground-up urban infill residential project in Santa Monica encompasses a ground-level retail space, a three-bedroom penthouse apartment and six studios in a three-level 12,800 sf building.

project example Pourtal

Scope: Architecture | Interior Design | Lighting Design The ground-up urban infill residential project in Santa Monica encompasses a ground-level retail space, a three-bedroom penthouse apartment and six studios in a three-level 12,800 sf building.

1404 Third Street Promenade Suite 201 Santa Monica CA 90401 tel 310.393.0625 fax 310.393.7692 Architecture Design Communication Arts


Selected works by AkarStudios

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