BFF went to NYC whilst I took the POD retail tour of Europe. With 24 hours in LA I sent him to scope out the recently re-furbed (or should that be re-fab'd) Santa Monica Place. Originally opened in 1980 as an enclosed mall designed by Frank Gehry, Dallas based architecture practice Omniplan has radically repositioned SMP with a green-driven renovation. It is now a sleek open-air shopping & dining destination that is accessible to the neighborhood from all sides and remains open to pedestrians 24/7. I was particularly interested in the new Bloomingdales (a refurb of a Macy's store) and how they had tweeked their signature finishes (black & white check floor etc) to reflect the casual beach lifestyle of sun-drenched California. The signature elements are there, they are just less polished and formal. The facade of shiny disks takes a leaf from Maison Martin Margiela that can be found just down the street. The retail has been re-mixed with upscale brands more suited to this casual chic neighborhood and the Dining Deck has views of the Pacific Ocean. Mojito anyone?