Desmond’s Wins AIA|LA Design Award

Desmonds Full Building

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) announced the winners of its 2023 AIA|LA Design Awards and Next LA Awards at the Los Angeles Theatre in downtown L.A.

At the ceremony, Omgivning was awarded the Merit in the Adaptive Reuse Historic Preservation category for the adaptive reuse and historic restoration of Desmond’s, the former department store coincidentally located just steps from the theater.

Designed by local architect AC Martin, Desmond’s opened in 1924 as the seven-story flagship department store of the deluxe Los Angeles-based retail chain. The building’s facade, which was redesigned in 1933, is decorated in elaborately cast terra cotta with twisting columns, balconies, and an ornamental pediment on top, making it one of the most striking buildings on Broadway. Operating until 1981, the Desmond’s building became a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument thanks to Omgivning’s efforts in 2020, and its renovation was completed in late 2021.

Desmonds closer The adaptive reuse of the 76,030 square-foot Desmond’s is a story of flexibility and designing within a modern historic interpretation. The building is now a mixed-use building housing retail on the ground level and workspace for the national co-working office group Bond Collective.

Occupying floors two through six, Bond Collective quickly sought to highlight Desmond’s unique interior design features, along with bringing a hospitality experience to their workspace environment. Omgivning collaborated with Bond Collective’s interior design team to create lounges, workspaces, gourmet kitchens, and conference rooms reinforcing elements of sophistication and polish. Desmonds Kitchen Underneath a fully restored atrium, the second floor now houses Bond Collective’s guest arrival, lounge, and assembly gathering space. The restored faux skylight with its richly colored panels is now enhanced with flat LED panels, diffusing a soft glow throughout the space. New windows were designed for the south wall to match the original window details throughout the building.

Vertical circulation was redesigned to the north side of the building, requiring architectural and structural redesigns. The roof area has been dramatically transformed with the addition of two new stories designed for restaurant and bar spaces with incredible downtown skyline views. desmonds bar marble As one of the most prestigious awards an architect and designer can win in the Los Angeles design community, AIA|LA are selected by a panel of distinguished jurors, from international architects and fellows, to critics, professors, and theorists, representing the best in the field. Learn more about the AIA|LA Design Awards and Next LA Awards at and see the other winners.

See Desmond's in our Projects page.

Architecture, Downtown LA, Adaptive Reuse, Design