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CST: 28/01/2020 14:01:29   


194 Days ago

A Field of Play for the Everyday


The Cayton Children’s Museum is now officially open for business, thanks to the ingenuity and innovative thinking of OfficeUntitled. Bringing play indoors, the Culver-City studio based practice designed the children’s museum as a series of unexpected spaces that inspire kids to learn about and engage in their community. The museum, an adaptive reuse converting 21,000SF of Santa Monica Place, by transforming a former artisanal food hall into the home of the Cayton Children’s Museum. 

Located at 395 Santa Monica Place on the popular open-air shopping center’s third floor.  Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a parametric armadillo and a whimsical porcupine, leading to the Courage Climber, creating a unique multidimensional space for exploration. The facility doubles the museum’s previous exhibition space on Wilshire Boulevard in mid-City and will accommodate an expected 250,000 visitors each year.  

Imagined as an inclusive space for free and safe discovery, OfficeUntitled designed the museum’s nonlinear network of freestanding, tactile objects to frame portions of the five exhibit neighborhoods while not revealing the entirety of the museum’s total offerings all at once.  The free plan approach affords each visitor the opportunity to chart his or her own “Path of Awesome” through the more than 30 exhibits focused on helping kids play their way to a better world.  

The waypoints along the path are architecturally scaled objects affectionately referred to as the Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, Houses and Drum. OfficeUntitled created these to shape the exhibit neighborhoods and address the requirements for non-exhibit program such as: entry/ticketing, security, classrooms, flex theater and MUSE the Museum’s retail frontage, while remembering that everything is a teachable moment in a children’s museum. 

OfficeUntitled designed the exterior of each architectural object to have a unique interactive or tactile experience associated with it to further the museum’s mandate for storytelling. Together, the objects and exhibits encourage activity throughout the open playscape and blur the line between exhibit and architecture.  This blurring of architecture and exhibits is exemplified by the Courage Climber, designed by OfficeUntitled, an oversized navy and fuchsia net structure hung from the ceiling in the high bay space. The climber is architectural in scale covering over 20% of the museum’s footprint. The installation also contains multiple destinations within itself. The Climber’s large format allows children to move laterally over multiple exhibit neighborhoods from within the Climber and a sneak view of the exhibits happening below from one of the numerous window portals.

The Cayton Children’s Museum prioritizes the power of play. Made to inspire a sense of curiosity, the design is a contemporary space for exploration and adventure. This ethos is carried throughout most OfficeUntitled’s projects, from Woodlark where old meets new, to Bay Point Landing, a choose your own adventure experience at the edge of the Pacific, and even the AVA LA Arts District, an incubator for LA’s leading creative minds.

For tours and more information, contact Alex@whatisyourdna.com.


OfficeUntitled is a young, energetic architecture and design firm focused on creative solutions across multiple scales and typologies, including commercial, hospitality, residential, and mixed-use.  Established in 2013, the practice leverages the award-winning design and project leadership of its four principals and a broad portfolio of experience in transformative architecture and interiors projects. OfficeUntitled sees the value in every project as an opportunity for transformation and impact. The firm is currently designing more than 4 million square feet of property, including The Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica, offices for BCG-Digital Ventures in London, The AVA Arts District in Los Angeles, and a masterplan for Summit Powder Mountain in Utah. 



Alex Polier
DNA Strategic Consulting

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