Honda taps downtown L.A. for advanced design studio
LOS ANGELES -- Honda R&D Americas has opened a design studio in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, replacing its advanced design center in suburban Pasadena.
The location -- a hip neighborhood in the heart of downtown L.A. -- will expose employees and designers to more youthful influences than old-money Pasadena, said Dave Marek, Honda director of design.
"Pasadena was awesome, but it was more about shopping. Downtown is more edgy. It's not raw, but kind of," Marek said in an interview at the studio's opening. "Our recruits live here. It has some cachet to it. It's an artistic community with art, fashion and entertainment."
The studio will employ up to 10 stylists, strictly performing advanced design work, meaning "two generations out, maybe more," Marek said.
While the studio's 6,500-square-foot space can hold a full-sized clay model, "we won't make those here, but we can present them here," he said.
In addition to styling concepts, the studio will conduct research on consumer lifestyles, attitudes and trends, Marek said. Its conference room is a converted shipping container, giving the ground-floor, loft-type studio a bit more urban grit.
Marek hopes the studio's larger footprint will allow it to become more involved in Honda's global design work. The advanced design studio is completely separate from the Honda and Acura design studios at American Honda headquarters in Torrance, Calif., which concentrate on the next generation of products.
For Marek, the studio's location has a side benefit: It's two blocks from Staples Center, the home of Marek's beloved Los Angeles Kings hockey team. He has purchased nosebleed tickets for the team's games for more than a decade.
When asked about the coincidence, Marek laughed and said, "I have no knowledge of that."
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