The Market Place

Tustin, California

Intense colors and 100-foot light towers create unique retail identity

The Market Place is an outdoor mall built on 165 acres in Tustin, California and one of the city’s first major destination retail centers. A collaboration between LPA and architect Ricardo Legorreta, the design uses playful cubic forms, bold colors and signature light towers to give the shopping center a unique identity.

Developed by the Irvine Company, The Market Place provides 1,627,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. An outer ring of big-box anchor stores surrounds an inner “Village Center,” consisting of smaller shops as well as restaurants that range from fast-food to bistro-style. These inner pedestrian-plaza areas include generous seating and are lined with dense groves of palm trees. In addition to providing shade and setting scale, the palms give order to the overall master plan.

The design was conceived as a cohesive urban sculpture rather than just a series of retail structures. Building forms are simple yet monumental and vary in height to create visual interest. Stucco façades combine strong rustic colors with vibrant accents.

Perhaps the center’s most notable feature—100-foot-tall light towers—rise from the parking lots and serve as beacons to passersby, inviting them to stop and experience the exciting environment. Ample outdoor lighting, including neon signage and palm tree uplights, further adds to the nighttime energy.

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