When the Pacific Design Center opened in West Hollywood three decades ago, residents didn't quite welcome it with open arms. Locals christened the 750,000-square-foot cobalt blue building "The Blue Whale," and they rarely interacted with it.
Today the Cesar Pelli―designed complex (a green building was added in 1988) has transformed into an interior-furnishings showplace for the public and trade professionals. The PDC warmed up its concrete plaza with a palm-lined promenade, and added a free designer-referral program and buying service that lets the public purchase from showrooms. Stop by this month to celebrate the PDC's accessibility as well as its 30th birthday.
Pacific Design Services. WHAT: Access to PDC's nearly 150 showrooms―most open to the trade only―through a designer-referral and buying service. HOW MUCH: Referral service is free, buying service prices are marked up from wholesale. WHERE: Center Blue, Ste. M-60; 310/360-6418.
Design Bath & Hardware. WHAT: Bathroom fixtures and accessories from one of the few PDC vendors that sell directly to the public. WHERE: Fourth floor of Center Blue; 310/358-9669.
Cooper-Pacific Kitchens. WHAT: A family-owned kitchen design firm. WHERE: Second floor of Center Green; 310/659-6147.
Astra West and the Lounge @ Astra. WHAT: Pear carpaccio, sirloin burgers, and other innovative meals in sleek quarters. When: Lunch Mon-Fri. HOW MUCH: $$. WHERE: Astra West is on the third floor of Center Blue; 310/652-3003. Lounge @ Astra is on the first floor of Center Green; 310/360-1553.
Design Café. WHAT: PDC's newest eatery serves salads and panini on outdoor tables overlooking Melrose Avenue. WHEN: Breakfast and lunch Mon-Fri. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: South side of Melrose Plaza, in front of Center Blue; 310/657-0343.
Pacific Design Plaza. WHAT: The PDC's public spaces encourage visitors to linger, with an illuminated water fountain in a 90-foot pool and a terraced lawn. WHERE: San Vicente Blvd. side of PDC.
Museum of Contemporary Art. WHAT: This MOCA satellite gallery specializes in design. When: Open Tue-Sun. HOW MUCH: Free. WHERE: Pacific Design Plaza, San Vicente Blvd. side of PDC; 213/626-6222.