Business Journal showcases L.A. professionals who are sold on retail property development.


David Lee Glover, 50

Design Director, Retail Practice

Gensler, Santa Monica office

Universal CityWalk. The Microsoft store at Westfield Century City. The Zone common area at Glendale Galleria. Shoppers may not recognize David Glover, but they have experienced the clever, entertaining venues he has created. Glover joined Gensler in 2008 after previous stints at mall developer Westfield Corp. and architecture firm Jerde Partnership. But even though Glover’s work has a signature L.A. style, most of his projects are international. For example, he’s currently designing a shopping center in Lima, Peru.

Why Retail: Great retail environments contribute to memorable human experiences. In our design process, we try to reinvent and script the way people spend their leisure shopping time. What gives it purpose? How can we bring relevance to it? These questions involve a lifetime of learning.

How I Got My Start: As I was finishing my scholar-in-residence at the Gamble House in Pasadena, Jon Jerde contacted me for an interview. This was the summer of 1984 when Jerde was finishing work on the L.A. Olympics and Horton Plaza (a San Diego shopping center). As Jon toured me through the studio he pointed out amazing artifacts of design – collage drawings, brightly painted concrete molds, sketches and an enormous model of Horton Plaza. The place had an incredible vibe and energy about it. I started work the next day.

Retail’s Special Challenge: It requires an awareness of contemporary culture, sociological influences and trends that drive consumer behavior. The experiential factor will help us to recode tomorrow’s retailing environments and buying patterns.

Best Career Moment: Teaching. I began teaching, lecturing and sitting on review boards at local universities a few years after I graduated from USC. It yielded several life epiphanies.

Worst: I met a young developer who hired me to run his design group. Three months into it, he was arrested and convicted for a Ponzi scheme. It was a shocking surprise, leaving myself and the team with nothing – no money, no projects, just poor judgment. Fortunately, a week later I received a call for an interesting position with Westfield. I also spent some time helping my team get positions at other firms.

Future of Retail: Decoding the mechanics of commerce will fuel innovation. For shopping centers, that means balancing the aspirational with relevance. Innovation will occur by creating new mixes of tenants and events, forming new cultural traditions, finding new ways to generate revenue and leveraging technology.

Favorite Project I Didn’t Work On: Melrose Avenue in the 1990s.

My Colleagues Don’t Know: Someday I would like to become a master sommelier.

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