Art meets sports … and sound baths at provocative beverage brand’s Venice outpost
By Audrey Cleo Yap
As a neighborhood, Venice is well-known as the intersection of art and commerce, thanks to retail-heavy hubs like Abbot Kinney. But as the birthplace of modern skateboarding and breeding ground for action sports, athletic DNA is as endemic to Dogtown as energy healing and green juice.
So it’s no surprise, then, that beverage brand and media house Red Bull has been combining the best of what Venice has to offer in a 975-square foot pop-up space at 1306 Abbot Kinney Boulevard dubbed the Red Bull ConsuLAte.
Equal parts media hub, event space and athletes’ hang-out, the ConsuLAte is a brick-and-mortar experience the brand conceived to take advantage of its presence in Southern California. Since its launch in September, it has played host to a number of exclusive events including a showcase of 1980s skateboarding photography by Venice Beach’s Josh “Bagel” Klassman, Blacklist TV and film lab workshops for women writers (co-hosted by Women in Film), Meditation Monday with local energy healer Hayley Rose, and a tailgate gathering for a Clippers game with a live art show by L.A artist Michael Farhat (@ArtMobb) inspired by the team.
The space is not open to the public, but is emblematic of brands’ interest in creating pop-up experiences, joining entities like the somewhat mysterious Microsoft Lounge and music community hub Winston House as another exclusive, if temporary, center for creatives, influencers and notables to gather on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. (Red Bull North America has offices in Santa Monica.)
It’s also a stopover for the brand’s sponsored athletes, like big mountain free skier Michelle Parker, who flew in from Lake Tahoe to meet with press and host an event with the local chapter of W.I.S.E. (Women in Sports and Events).
“I’m pretty psyched on it. I think, initially, it was created as a space for the athletes to come together, and whenever they’re in town, to come over and hang out in this beautiful space, grab a surfboard or bike,” said Parker, 31. “It’s been a really amazing tool, I think, for them and for their athletes to engage people. Hopefully, they continue it.”
From the outside, the space would hardly catch the eye of the casual Abbot Kinney pedestrian: blinds are usually drawn, and in the off-chance that you do sneak a peek at the front lobby, you would likely mistake it for the DMV with its row of service windows and retractable line dividers. The giveaway? A wall that at a regular government office might feature the headshots of the mayor or employees of the month — this one, instead, features pictures of athletes like Lindsey Vonn and Jared Goff. It’s a quirky introduction to the otherwise quaint, bohemian beach-styled shingle — complete with, yes, a surfboard rack — that was previously a pop-up lingerie store.
The Red Bull ConsuLAte is set to close up shop on Nov. 3. But for now, this marriage of art and athleticism seems to have found a perfect home — in Venice, they always go hand in hand.