Royal/T project / wHY Architecture

Architects: wHY Architecture
Location: Culver City, California,
Area: 929 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Program: Art Gallery, Café and Retail Shop

Royal/T is a playful collision of art gallery, café and retail shop within a 10,000 sf warehouse in Culver City, California. wHY Architecture designed the space unlike any other, playing upon traditional rules of gallery, retail and restaurant design. Rather than the ‘white box’ space, existing walls remained unpainted, and undulating ribbons of ten foot high acrylic walls contain the art and retail offerings in architectural vitrines. It is these vitrines that allow for the juxtaposition of disparate programs that yields a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Patrons can dine in close proximity to the multi-million dollar art collection, the only barrier being the hyper-clear, butt-glazed cast acrylic. Diners become voyeurs and participants in the architectural fusion of pop-culture and high-end design. Like a private club, the Washington Boulevard entrance is covered in faux boxwood, with only the Royal/T crown logo in hot pink neon.

Inspired by the Maid Cafés in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, the highly conceptualized space of Royal/T reflects the interior realm of fantasy that strongly influences the artists included in owner Sue Hancock’s private collection. Recontextualizing the underground ‘okaku’ (geek) culture of Japan that celebrated ‘cosplay’ (costume play), the café servers dress in maid uniforms with a Lolita-esque touch. The look-but-don’t-touch theme continues with the art and retail offerings contained within the acrylic vitrines. Even the requisite café ceiling is acrylic, allowing the existing bowstring trusses to remain visible.

Cite: "Royal/T project / wHY Architecture" 06 Jan 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • roadkill

    so you are trying to tell us there’s not a more deserving project out there? seriously we should minimise the amount of trivia on this site

  • bentply

    I love this project. I live down the street from it and saw the facade go up last year. I believe this is also the main spot for Pecha Kucha Los Angeles

    …and the waitresses look nice too.

  • Kim

    WTF Roadkill are you going to throw a Fatwa at everything that doesn’t fit into your masochistic/puritan/PC/greeny criteria?
    Get a life…..pull your finger out of your arse.

  • rangga

    waaw… nice..
    is there any detail drawing for the facade, is it real live plants? cool..

  • Ceno

    I love the waitress they’re cute lol

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  • Maria-Louiza Laopodi

    I love the warmth the wooden roof and bricked walls give in contrast to the glass and concrete floors.

  • Taylor

    Every time i come here I am not dissapointed, nice post

  • Komalantz


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