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Bad Hollywood & Highland/Bad Hollywood & Highland: Which Way Is Up? Edition

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After a couple months of tackling our conflicted feelings about LA's most beloved new disposable income dump the Grove, we're ready for something a little different. So now, on a rotating basis with our Good Grove/Bad Grove column, we present a look at LA's other new dump, Hollywood & Highland. It's a dump of bad ideas, bad design, bad traffic and just plain bad vibes. When it comes to Hollywood & Highland, there's nothing to be conflicted about. As far as we can see, it's just all bad.

Let's start with the escalators. Granted, in order to take them, you'd first have to want to get upstairs. But a lot of people make that mistake once. If you actually make it to the escalator bank, what you'll find is a labyrinthine jenga of disjointed segments, all of which seem to be pointed in different directions and none of which are headed the way you want to go. It's as if the escalators were designed by Erno Rubik to make exiting the garage a mind-bending puzzle. We understand the value of infusing your design with some originality, but when your escalators lose their functionality, it doesn't matter how funkily arranged they are. It's just frustrating.

If you actually make it upstairs, good luck figuring out which way the mall is. Although Hollywood & Highland is designed around a spacious, airy atrium, the escalators empty out into a dark, spooky cavern more like a Turkish prison than a mall. Getting upstairs is only half the battle. Once you make it to level 1, you still feel lost and unsure which way to go. Then, as if to illustrate the term "overcompensation", you soon find yourself assaulted by a platoon of blue and orange signs full of arrows pointing in different directions. How about just one that says "Mall" and has a single arrow on it? It doesn't make much sense to confuse shoppers about which direction they need to go in order to spend their money, but for whatever reason, H & H seems designed to do just that.

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We've stopped trying to understand what was in the architects' minds when they designed LA's most disorienting shopping center. Instead, we've come up with a very simple way to deal with the confusion you're likely to feel when visiting Hollywood & Highland. If you find yourself stuck on the escalators and unsure where to go, just turn around and head right back the way you came. Trust us, it doesn't get much better upstairs anyway. Badness Rank (1 to 10): 8.

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