Best Products showroom, Sacramento, California, 1977
This showroom for Best Products at the Arden Fair Shopping Centre in Sacramento, California, was one of a series designed by the multi-disciplinary architecture and environmental art practice SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) during the 1970s.
Best was founded by a pair of philanthropists and keen art collectors whose creative passion prompted the architectural collaboration. The seven imaginative and unorthodox retail outlets aimed to transcend the boundaries between art and architecture and involved the shopper in a theatrical commerce experience.
The Notch Building, completed in 1977, was perhaps their most structurally ambitious project. A 45 ton corner of the otherwise fortress-like brick building was mounted on a rail embedded in the pavement, allowing it to separate itself from the rest of the structure like a medieval drawbridge in order to let customers in and out – or to release a cloud of balloons.
As well as providing an attention-grabbing visual spectacle, the building subverted the usual shopping centre norms – the brick walls moving and the customers standing still. The deliberately cracked facade was a provocative statement in earthquake-prone California.