Francisco Pinedo, owner of furniture manufacturer Cisco Brothers, founded his company in a garage 15 years ago. His enterprise has since blossomed into a $15-million-a-year business. The company occupied a number of warehouses in an area of South Los Angeles that has become the heart of the city’s nascent furniture industry. Pinedo needed a showroom, and he thought other manufacturers could benefit from a local presence outside the Westside’s high-rent design district. He asked the architects to design the core of what might grow into a much larger development (one warehouse is completed; the other is still under renovation).

The building itself offered clues about how to proceed. The steel columns, retrofitted on the outside, suggested a scaffolding for what became a new facade of translucent polycarbonate panels, applied like shingles along the length of the facade that faces the parking lot. The architects turned the facade at the front so that it ran parallel to the street, giving the parking lot more closure and the front facade more presence. With this billboard structure, the architects absorbed the notion of visual street language in their design.

A variegated appliqué of horizontal, greenish concrete panels, scaled to be glimpsed obliquely from cars sailing past, signals a refined design sensibility that offers not just cautious reinvestment in the neighborhood, but also authenticity, even joy. The panels wrap portions of the two, two-story brick warehouses and share facade space with what appears to be a billboard partially spanning the parking lot between the two primary structures. Suspended tarps sail above the parking lot like magic carpets, just beyond a fence of punched steel.

Inside, Freidman, the principal in charge, sited a few strategic interventions. Removing a section of the first floor, he placed a hardwood landing, large enough for furniture displays, from which a staircase with transparent siding leads to the second floor. He terraced a section of the second floor (raised to accommodate a loading dock below) to take advantage of the level change. The north side of the terrace was walled off with another layer of shingled polycarbonate panels. All the moves were large, to the point of being environmental.

The most transformative insight was turning the parking lot into a public space. At the Design Center, the lot comprises a watering hole, piazza, and party space with a couple of deft, inexpensive moves. The polycarbonate facades add softness and shimmer to the space; the overhead tarps contain it by defining its height; and concrete parking pads in different shades of gray, separated by planted strips that follow construction lines drawn from the surrounding structures, create a lively patchwork quilt underfoot. Eventually, the parking lot will serve as a point of origin for a path leading to other buildings in the expanded project.


Francisco And Alba Pinedo
Owners, Cisco Brothers Corporation
1933 W. 60th Street
Los Angeles, California 90047
323. 778. 8612

John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
701 East Third Street, Suite 300
Los Angeles, California 90013
T 213. 253. 4740
F 213. 253. 4760

Principal-In-Charge Of Design:
John Friedman, Aia

Project Architect:
Dan Brunn

Alice Kimm

Mackintosh & Mackintosh Structural Engineers
Ken Storey, Project Engineer
3838 Oakwood Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90004
T (323) 662-1184
F (323) 662-7541

Structural (Wood Siding, Fence, Gate):
Franceschi Engineering, Inc. Structural Engineer
Paul Francheschi, Principal
2388 Kenilworth Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90039
T 323. 663. 2071
F 323. 663. 8291

Structural (Concrete Sign at st. entrance):
William K. Koh & Associates Structural Engineer
3435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2310
Los Angeles, California 90010
T 213 386 1715
F 213 286 1719

Orange Street Studio
Michael Schneider, Principal
3252 Dewitt Drive
Los Angeles, California 90068
T 323. 874.3378
F 323. 874. 3352

Fire Ltd.
744 1/2 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90069
T 310. 652. 9110
F 310. 652.6735

Graphic Designer:
Garza Group Communications, Inc.
Agustin Garza, Principal
35 East Union Street, Suite 2
Pasadena, California 91103
T 626.683. 3395
F 626. 683. 3398

General Contractor
Steve Forbes, Brunswick Builders, Inc.
2354 Lake View Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90039
T 323. 660.2832
F 323.906.0983

Major Subcontractors
Creative Masonry
Fritz Von Schlegell
Evan Landry
T/F 310.821.2606

Ornamental Steel:
Ronnie Fujinami, The Welding Junction
3669 7th Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90018
T/F 323.730.1008

Sheet Metal:
Pat Morrison, Copperworks
Po Box 64272
Rancho Park, Ca 90064
T 310.575.4051
F 310.572.9162

Benny Chan / Fotoworks
8885 Venice Blvd., Suite 103
Los Angeles, Ca 90034
T 310. 842. 9446

CAD system, project management, or other software used
AutoCAD 2000
FormZ, Photoshop




Exterior Cladding
Metal/Glass Curtainwall:
Polycarbonate Screen, 25 Mm
– Manufacturer:
– Supplier: Gavrieli Plastics
11733 Sherman Way
N. Hollywood, Ca 91605
T 818. 982.0000
F 818.982.0524

Douglas Fir 2x6 Members

EIFS, ACM, Or Other:
Cement Board Siding, Painted
– Manufacturer: Maxi Plank

Exterior and interior concrete floors and ground plane, freestanding sign at street
(Poured-In-Place Concrete):

Creative Masonry
Fritz Von Schlegell, Evan Landry
(See Above For Contact Information)

Suspended Fabric Canopy above Parking Lot:
Shade Sails
T 714.969.7628
F 714.658.3072


Custom Stainless Steel Door Fabrication: Ronnie Fujinami, The Welding Junction

Custom Entrance Canopy:
– Material: Rheinzink Sheet Metal
– Fabricator: Pat Morrison, Copperworks

Custom Security Gate At Street Entrance:
– Material: Open Grip Metal Grate by McNichols
– Fabricator: Hollywood Welding

Custom acrylic doors and hardware:
– Stainless Steel Hardware Fabricator: Ronnie Fujinami, The Welding Junction
– Acrylic Door Panel Fabricator:
Acrylic Specialties
4203 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, Ca 90230
T 310. 390.5616
F 310. 390.7085

Interior Finishes
Nonstructural Acrylic Wall Partitions at offices and foyer:
Supplied by Gavrieli Plastics

Cabinetwork And Custom Woodwork: – Custom Cabinetry Fabrication:
Cisco Brothers
– Custom wood stair and wall covering at entry foyer: Material: Maple

Steel Stair And Guard/Handrails At Foyer: Ronnie Fujinami, The Welding Junction

Acrylic Guardrail Panels:
Gavrieli Plastics

Paints and Stains:
Benjamin Moore Paints

Special Surfacing:
Polycarbonate 25 Mm Polygal
– Supplier: Gavrieli

Reception Furniture:
Reception Desk Custom Design By John Friedman
–  Frame: Upside-Down Sofa Frame By Cisco Brothers
– Top: Acrylic Supplied By Acrylic Specialties