An outdoor living room
2016 saw Victoria Gardens build upon its reputation as the meet-up place for the Inland Empire. The ICSC and ULI award-winning Victoria Gardens continued its evolution, as outlined in STIR Architecture’s revised master plan in 2012.
Monet Avenue, anchored on the northern end by a home furnishings store and food hall, and on the southern end by a department store, needed to boost foot traffic in an effort to register at the levels of the others streets and gathering spaces. The western most street in the 16-square block mixed-use plan needed a tune up, and so the decision was made to create more walkable spaces and gathering areas throughout and end-to-end. The tenant storefront design handbook was updated to allow much taller and broader storefronts. More vibrant color sets and patterns were suggested and encouraged. The public restrooms were enhanced and updated to a more urban and sophisticated look and feel. The palette of landscape materials was broadened to create whimsical place markers through an integrated plan for art pieces which complement and punctuate the street place.
Just over 70,000 square feet of open space in the 3-block long area was reconsidered, affecting the space under foot, overhead and in the visual plane. Every aspect was upgraded and changed as a “string of pearls” – design interventions were planned and orchestrated to pull visitors from end-to-end, providing visitors a reason to visit, look, touch, listen and sit, shop and eat throughout. There is a wide variety of seating, lighting, landscape, waterscape, accessible parking amenities, facades, shading devices, park lets, storefronts, paseos and public restrooms, which have been given new life. The artwork throughout ranges from creative crosswalk art pieces to the Brian McCutcheon “Upside Down Palm Tree” and everything in between. The project has been reimagined as an outdoor living room, with mobile charging stations in a number of locations located up and down the street at benches, bars and monuments.
The renewal of Monet Ave. has led to an explosion of quick serve dining like Dog Haus, Blaze and MELT, to balance the fashion of H&M, Anthropology, Banana Republic and Lucky Jeans, as well as a new Apple Store and Starbucks.