April 23, 2021


Home Improvement

L.A. estate offers organic products at Culver City pop-up

If you’re seeking a quick respite from politics or the general state of the world, you might find a worthwhile distraction by visiting Flamingo Estate’s Harvest Shop, a garden-inspired pop-up at the Platform shopping center in Culver City.

The Harvest Shop, which runs through the end of December, offers a chance to connect with the pleasures of Flamingo Estate’s gardens and the products inspired by them.

The temporary shop comes from Richard Christiansen who owns the estate, which is his refuge and private home in Eagle Rock. He’s also the founder of the Highland Park-based Owl Bureau bookstore and the bicoastal Chandelier Creative agency, which has helped shape the images of brands including the RealReal, Belvedere and Cartier.

A photo of the Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop pop-up.

The Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop pop-up is open through Dec. 31 at Platform in Culver City.

(Christian Hogstedt)

Christiansen, 44, has been turning his home into a brand in its own right. “Flamingo Estate’s goal is to encourage middle fingers and green thumbs all over the world, promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said Christiansen whose latest venture is a deeply personal one.

He was inspired to create the Flamingo Estate-branded products last year after reading the labels on the bath products in his home. His gardens are fed the grey water from the estate, and knowing the byproducts from his bath products were likely polluting the garden through his filtering system, he decided to make a change.

Thus began the creation of clean products because “we wanted the plants to be healthy,” Christiansen said.

A photo of the Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles.

The Flamingo Estate is a hidden L.A. gem with its lush gardens. Now products from Flamingo Estate are available for the holiday season at a temporary shop in Culver City.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

The arrival of the temporary Harvest Shop in Culver City comes eight months after Flamingo Estate debuted its organic delivery service, which has connected some of L.A. County’s farms, many of whom had struggled because of COVID-19-related dining-out restrictions, with more customers.

The Flamingo Estate’s boxes of seasonal farm goods started as a smaller venture and has expanded into a full-service business with 25 drivers distributing assorted wares on Fridays throughout Los Angeles.

A photo of Richard Christiansen

Richard Christiansen inside the Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop.

(Christian Hogstedt)

Offerings from Flamingo Estate include gluten-free bread, homemade focaccia, flowers and seasonally inspired goods, in addition to produce. Christiansen introduced new products, signature to Flamingo Estate, at the same time.

“As the demand for the products grew, so did the demand for a physical location,” Christiansen said of the pop-up. “Given the synergies between Flamingo Estate and the Platform brand and the discovery element involved in both, it was an opportunity that felt natural to move forward with.”

In 2017, the former New Yorker moved into Flamingo Estate, once home to an erotic film company. He was attracted to the property after meeting the original owner who was looking for some guidance with beekeeping.

“It started with bees,” said Christiansen, who grew up raising bees in Australia. “It started with honey. It started with the garden. I didn’t see inside the house for years. It was really all about a love affair with the garden.” Eventually a deal was made, and Christiansen bought the property.

A photo of brick steps and land at the Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles.

The view from the standout brick steps at the Flamingo Estate.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A reimagining of the home came with the help of the Paris-based Studio KO. The gardens were enhanced with the assistance of landscape architect Arnaud Casaus. Since moving in, Christiansen has been the host for events and photo shoots.

At the Harvest Shop pop-up, you’ll find Flamingo Estate products such as candles, biodynamic steams and mists as well as a curated selection of pantry staples including olive oil, biodynamic honey and chocolates from the estate. (Items from the estate’s label generally start at $12 for dark chocolate.)

There’s also a full range of body care goods at the pop-up such as hand soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner that are sourced from the estate’s lush gardens, which span 7 acres and are home to more than 150 botanical species.

Although the home isn’t open to the public, an ultimate gift set with a private tour by Christiansen, dinner for you and friends and every nonperishable product the estate makes, including Chrissy Teigen’s Orchard Jams, is available for $5,000, according to Flamingo Estate’s website.

A photo of poolside seating at the Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles.

A look at the Flamingo Estate.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

The grounds of Flamingo Estate itself are dreamlike and offer plenty of inspiration and sensorial pleasure. Notes of Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle come through the rouge pathways with echoes of an untamed, rambling English garden.

A concrete, tiled and azure glass bathing pavilion, a brutalist hammam, is reminiscent of the James Turrell sound and color bath at the Sheats-Goldstein residence in Beverly Crest. Flamingo Estate is a tribute to the pleasures of the garden.

A photo of a pond in the cactus garden at the Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles.

The pond in the cactus garden at the Flamingo Estate.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Flamingo Estate’s distinct flavors, sights and smells come to life at the Harvest Shop. Products are packaged in bespoke branding that pays homage the flora, fauna and the wild spirit of the estate. Shots from old photo shoots at the Flamingo Estate line the candle’s packaging.

The estate’s essence can be found all the way down to the shelving and displays inside the temporary space. Shelves are fashioned from compacted dirt, sheltered in glazed ceramic tiles designed by ceramicist Alex Reed and architect Dutra Brown.

A whimsical mural on display at the pop-up was painted by artist Abel Macias and is inspired by the forest in the Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” (Walt Disney is one of Christiansen’s heroes.) A deep green wall, the same hue as the bar at Flamingo Estate, offers a range of glass-bottled herbs from the garden.

A photo of the inside of the Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop.

Inside the Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop.

(Christian Hogstedt)

When the Flamingo Estate pop-up wraps up Dec. 31, the dirt from the shelves will be returned to the earth. Also, the brand partnered with the National Forest Foundation and 1% for the Planet to plant a tree for every product sold. At the time of the opening, the Flamingo Estate was already on track to plant 40,000 trees from the sales of its farm-goods boxes and other products.

Flamingo Estate’s Harvest Shop pop-up, 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City, through Dec. 31, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, flamingoestate.la

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