While malls across America are dying slow and painful deaths, L.A.’s mall scene is thriving. Open-air malls like the Grove and the Americana have become standard destinations for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Over on the west side of town, Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., has nearly completed its $1 billion facelift. Yes, that’s one billion dollars. With a fresh redesign, the addition of new stores and restaurants, and some new technology, Westfield Century City went from “that place with an AMC and a Container Store” to a full-on cultural experience.
L.A.-based designer Kelly Wearstler took out all the old, clunky elements and replaced them with teak wood, lounges, cabanas, and lots of plant life. The entire look and feel is very SoCal–upscale and relaxed–but mostly we’re just happy there are now a ton of spots to sit our tired butts down in the middle of a shopping spree.
In addition to the new design elements, Westfield Century City has partnered with LACMA, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Annenberg Space for Photography to showcase artwork that will be on display throughout the mall.
Injected into the otherwise chill vibe is some high tech Minority Report-esque advertising. Located throughout the mall are 75-inch screens outfitted with tiny cameras that gives you a once-over and then customizes the ads you see on screen. I was wearing a black T-shirt, black jeans, combat boots, and a holographic backpack, and it showed me an ad for Michael Kors. OK, so it might need some work, but it’s still pretty cool.
The remodel has made shopping at Westfield Century City more intuitive and much easier. The full layout of stores is organized by category: fashion, lifestyle, and beauty. Several new stores have been added including a three-story Nordstrom, Amazon Books (Amazon’s physical bookstore), and a few new-to-market and pop-up shops. There are a total of more than 200 shops and restaurants. They’ve also added a concierge to assist with shopping, styling, dining, parking, and entertainment at Westfield and around the city.
The food at Westfield has also gotten major upgrade. With the arrival of names like Compartes Chocolates, Shake Shack, Wexler’s Deli, Din Tai Fung, Randy’s Donuts, La Colombe, and the much-anticipated Eataly (an Italian market, restaurant, and cooking school), dining at Westfield Century City is next level. Even celebrity chefs are getting in on the action. Richard Blais is set to open a Crack Shack, and Jonathan Waxman will be opening a restaurant there early next year.
Westfield Century City’s grand re-opening takes place on Tuesday, October 3. The celebration will include performances by Fitz and the Tantrums, Joe Jonas’ new band DNCE, and other musical guests, as well as a pop-up by celebrity florist-perfumer Eric Buterbaugh, according to The Hollywood Reporter.