In Los Angeles, strip malls are derided as ugly and bad urbanism but they are also home to the city’s best finds. Such is Button Mash, L.A. studio Design, Bitches’ latest work in Echo Park. It’s a mash-up that combines a bar, a restaurant, and the owners Jordan Weiss and Gabe Fowlkes’ collection of rare and vintage video games—think cocktails, Pac-Man, and spicy Korean pork belly sandwiches. Architects Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph’s design is similarly collaged, with eating, drinking, and playing areas interlocking under a coffered ceiling.
Located not far from Dodger Stadium, Button Mash is at the heart of a neighborhood that shows signs of economic change, but also stays true to its roots. “This part of Sunset Boulevard is home to colorful punctuations in an otherwise unspectacular streetscape,” Johnson and Rudolph explained. “A vibrantly eccentric internal life has always marked what we love about the neighborhood.”
As such, the exterior picks up on local vernacular by using mall signage and deep blue and white paint. Dot graphics cover the large storefront windows that illuminate the dining area.
Time is in a 1980s holding pattern inside the 4,000-square-foot restaurant. Vinyl banquettes and plywood paneling nostalgically recall old pizza joints. Other finishes like patterned laminate by Ettore Sottsass and custom wallpaper by artist Joseph Harmon add a heady dose of psychedelic postmodernism.