With a pink neon sign hovering above an elevated cactus garden, beckoning passersby like a groovy roadside motel, The Elder Statesman’s first boutique channels founder Greg Chait's desert upbringing in Arizona into a 1920's West Hollywood bungalow. "I've been looking for years for a space and I was open to anywhere that made sense," says Chait, who signed the lease this March, the same day he signed his investment deal with Chrome Hearts. The building had formerly been a shop for Buddha sculptures and water fountains, an acupuncture clinic, a tea salon, and a shoe outlet. To cleanse that history, Chait enlisted Commune Design to take the structure down to the studs, producing a copper-roofed, cement-walled, alder wood-accented, skylit shop with center-pivoting doors leading to a backyard lounge. "I wanted fewer elements done really well," says Chait, more or less echoing the ethos of his brand, known for its minimal-luxe, four-figure sweaters and blankets. "We had a lot of famous copper roofs in Arizona, and then there's the knotty pine, the desert landscaping. I wanted to invoke warmth."
He also wanted the space to serve as a design laboratory. "With the shop I can create a platform where we can get an itch and scratch it," says Chait, noting his new line of cashmere-and-rough-gemstone bracelets, necklaces and bolo ties and the deadstock Guatemalan denim daybed pillows they assembled just hours before Saturday's opening. " I love needing to learn how to make stuff. That's what's driven the company to where it is."