issue : 012003

Something interesting has happened in the center of Los Angeles: literal clash between authenticity and artificiality, juxtaposition between the historical Farmers Market and the Grove, that is. Less than a mile away from the Beverly Center, a whopping combined area of 575,000 sf. shopping space brings an interesting contrast between the two urban extremities.

Since the early 1930's, Farmers market first introduced an open market for the public to purchase fresh produce and and gradually added diverse flavors of ethnic(ity: 20+ languages are spoken here) foods and live music. It truly exemplifies a wonderful urban collective: zones of meandering walkways, open and close canopies that define 70 individual shops and eateries, table after table to meet, talk and eat, or simply watch others... very similar to traditional market places you often see in established cities around the world. It does feel like you are in a time capsule at another place and another time in Los Angeles.

Almost 70 years later, Caruso Affiliated Holdings added 80,000 sf. of retail and restaurants - yuppie complex connected by a Disneyfied electrical trolley system. (Ironically, Walt Disney was at Farmers Market when he was designing Disneyland and integrated some of the elements within the market!) The new complex resembles typical post-Universal-City-Walk-design with false facades of corporate retail and restaurants on ground floor (that is supposed to resemble Art Deco era of Los Angeles Architecture at the turn of the last century when the Farmers Market was built: whatever that really means). Of course, you can't build anything new these days without a water feature (designed by WET Design) in the middle of everything; It's sort of like watching TV, a non-interactive venue. However, the Grove at least defines small park-like setting that gives the opportunity for people to roam freely and have random activities... it's too bad most of the walls that define the open space enclose non-habitable upper floors and rooftops.

Many worry that the Grove might overwhelm the Farmers Market with new construction. What is authentic and artificial in the city of Angeles? Here you should be able to find both, especially when you are on top of the parking structure looking down at its great potential and limited reality: then you decide its value.

:: REF ::
Farmers Market
The Grove
International Council of Shopping Centers

*For your visual comparison, there are 3 photographs: at junction between two entities and one within heart of the Grove and the Farmer's Market

*open daily (varying hours), with large, multiple level parking structure and ground parking