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Americana at Brand

© Lauren Greenfield

Opening cash registers and unfurling welcome mats in May 2008, the Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA is a mixed-use urban design experiment that blends consumerism, aspiration, and lifestyle by making it possible to live at the mall.
Concentrated within a 15.5 acre footprint, upscale shops and restaurants are integrated with luxury apartments, condominium towers, a trolley, and a two-acre central green with a fountain spouting bi-hourly Vegas-style water and light shows. An enormous baroque chandelier hangs adjacent in open air, confirming the alternative reality of the town square-esque space. All service staff, from the trolley conductor to the ice cream vendor, wear crisp custom-designed nostalgia uniforms, while Sinatra and his ilk play on public speakers all day.

Residents of the Americana receive bonus rewards for shopping on the property, and access to on-site amenities that include spas, pools, yoga classes, and meeting rooms. The obliging concierge crew fills services not included on the premises, from grocery shopping to dog walking to mail delivery. So, in theory, your commute to work could be the only reason to ever leave the mall. The Americana at Brand is Ivanka Trump meets Thornton Wilder: the ultimate marriage of capitalist consumerism and the classic America Dream.

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