Monday, December 12, 2011

Thank You For An Amazing 2011!

As 2011 comes to a close, we wanted to take a few moments to say thank you for all your love and support this year. This year we explored new neighborhoods, even occasionally venturing (gasp!) WEST of La Brea to seek out the most interesting, innovative and inventive design across this great city. We also upped our events this year, hosting nearly two per month. We're so grateful for this community and can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

Here are some of our favorite people, places and things we saw this year...
And we can't wait to wrap up the year tomorrow night at LACMA to see the museum's groundbreaking exhibition, California Design, 1935-1960: Living in a Modern Way, hear from the show's curator, and celebrate the holidays with drinks and cheer at Stark Bar.

Thank you again for a great 2011!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Recap > Long Beach Bike Tour

Group photo

On an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning, friends of de LaB gathered in Long Beach for a tour of the city's bike-friendly design improvements hosted by bicycle advocate Charlie Gandy.

 Gwynne Pugh

Attendees came from all over the region, some driving, some biking, some riding the train. Architect Gwynne Pugh and his friend rode all the way down to Long Beach from Santa Monica!

 Dedicated bike lanes in downtown

First stop were some of the incredible dedicated bike lanes that zip through Long Beach's downtown—the first to be installed in Southern California.

 Outside Bikestation

The group got a brief tour of Bikestation, the first facility of its kind in the U.S. Here you can park, store, or fix your bike in a gorgeous new facility designed by Fernando Vazquez.

Bike rack

Long Beach has some incredible bike infrastructure, including bike corrals that can park a dozen bikes in the same space as a car.

Awesome houses

We then headed through some gorgeous Craftsman neighborhoods, which looked even prettier all decked out for the holidays.

Great bike lanes in Belmont Shore

Gandy talked about how certain neighborhoods, like Belmont Shore, asked the city to install bike lanes because they knew it would increase foot traffic.

Charlie and the roundabout

One of the most exciting bike improvements is the Vista Bike Boulevard, where roundabouts have been installed to calm traffic and make streets safer for cyclists.

 Retro Row

Finally, we heard from April Economides about Long Beach's bike-friendly business districts in Retro Row, where two parklets are planned to be installed.


And what would biking be without beer? We were delighted to be among the first people to experience the new outdoor patio at Beachwood BBQ, a fantastic barbecue and craft beer joint in downtown Long Beach.

The riders!

Thanks again to Charlie Gandy, Melissa Balmer, April Economides and Bikestation for taking the time to visit with us, as well as the City of Long Beach for providing us free bike rentals for the day! You can check out more photos here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Local Holiday Shopping Guide

From the endless holiday parties to feverishly trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, we know it's hard to do it all this time of year. In the spirit of supporting local and independent designers and makers, we've rounded up our favorite holiday shows - mostly east of La Brea - for you.

And if crowds just aren't your thing, consider visiting the following holiday guides while you armchair shop!

Our Favorite Holiday Guides

Or Just Give Generously This Season

Happy Holidays from de LaB!

[Images: Courtesy of Remodelista.]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Recap > Samara Golden at Night Gallery

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

At 9:30pm on a Thursday night—at what was maybe our latest-starting de LaB ever?—dozens of intrepid art-seekers opened a nondescript door in a Lincoln Heights strip mall, stepping into what felt like someone's living room in 1980's Malibu.

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

This is Night Gallery, which is only open from 10pm to 2am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Owners Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple explained the concept behind their space and walked us through Samara Golden's piece Rape of the Mirror, which has transformed the usually all-black walls into an immersive experience inspired by movies like American Gigolo and The Long Goodbye.

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

Golden's piece creates a haunting narrative. One one side, a peaceful beach house, sleek contemporary furniture, waves lapping against the beach. At the center are monitors connected to cameras which capture real-time imagery of people walking through the space, making the audience become part of the art—and instantly implicating them.

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

Moving through the space is like wandering into a nightmare, with other side of the room showing the aftermath of a violent fight, strewn with shattered mirrors and overturned furniture. Glowing throughout the room are videos shot by Golden on her iPhone, including a montage of all the photos taken with her phone from the beginning of the year.

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

To add to the surreal nature of the piece, all the furniture is built with an insulating material called Thermax, which also serves a practical purpose: It made each piece light enough so that Golden could move it herself. After taking in the various scenes, the crowd wandered the space with beers in hand, like voyeuristic guests at a house party gone wrong.

Samara Golden @ Night Gallery

Outside, the dark storefront and pitch black sign revealed no clues to the art happening inside. Golden's piece is up until December 8.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

December 13 > California Design and Holiday Cheer > LACMA

Usually we focus on all things east but we'd be failing our mission as design citizens if we didn't make a stop at the incredible extravaganza of modern design, California Design, 1935-1960: Living in a Modern Way, currently on view at LACMA. The show features over 300 made-in-California objects from ceramics to swimsuits—plus the entire contents of the Eames House living room!—that influenced the material culture of the entire country. So consider this a special exception to see some design west of LaBrea as we tour this groundbreaking exhibition, hear from the show's curator, and celebrate the holidays with drinks and cheer at Stark Bar, recently named one of the top restaurants in the country by Esquire!

Tuesday, December 13
6:00pm: Meet at Resnick Pavilion, tour California Design on your own
6:30pm: Talk by curator Bobbye Tigerman at Resnick Pavilion entrance
7:00pm: Tour California Design on your own
8:00pm -11:00pm: Meet at Stark Bar for the de LaB Holiday Party

5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

LACMA is free to LA County residents after 5pm (did you know that?) so just show your ID at the box office and you'll receive a free ticket.

Since the holidays are a time for giving, we're also hoping you might take this festive opportunity to make a small donation to de LaB. In 2011 we produced 20 events, half of which were completely free to attendees. In the next year we'll continue to bring you two events per month, plus secure our nonprofit status and debut a brand new website designed by Derrick Schultz. And we even have a few surprises up our sleeves. If you'd like to help support a successful 2012, there's an opportunity when you RSVP to add a donation. Any amount will help us to continue bringing you the best design programming east (or west!) of LaBrea. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

RSVP and make your donation to de LaB here

This is the second event in our Eames Themes, celebrating the contributions and legacies of Southern California's greatest designers in honor of Pacific Standard Time. Stay tuned to hear about the next events coming up in January!

Top image: California Design, 1935-1960: Living in a Modern Way, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

Bottom image: At Ray's and Stark Bar, photo by Lesley Balla

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

December 4 > Long Beach Bike Tour


Los Angeles may have an ambitious bike plan in the works but if you want to see a truly bike-centric Southern California community today, you'll have to head south to Long Beach. The city recently declared itself one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the country and they've got the infrastructure to prove it: separated bike lanes, miles of bike paths, the area's first bike boulevard, even official bicycle-friendly districts. So on Sunday, December 4, we're heading to Long Beach for a ride around this bike-friendly town to check out all its two-wheeled glory with Charlie Gandy, former mobility director for the city, and president of Livable Communities.

Highlights in the approximately eight-mile loop include: Bikestation, a landmark for biking in Long Beach; the Broadway cycle-track, the bike boulevards of Belmont Shore, roundabouts and traffic circles, the East Village bike-friendly arts district, and downtown Long Beach's new protected bike lanes.

Sunday, December 4
11:30 am: Meet at Long Beach City Hall
333 West Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90802

City Hall is the massive Brutalist building that's hard to miss. There's a large plaza on the east side of the building with this bike sculpture on the wall. We'll meet there.

12:00 pm: Ride begins! Follow us at @de_LaB for updates.

3:30 pm: Ride ends with drinks and snacks at Beachwood Brewing
210 E. 3rd Street
Long Beach, CA 90802

For those of you in the Los Angeles area, we recommend taking your bikes on the Metro Blue Line to Long Beach. If you get off at the Long Beach Transit Mall stop, it's just a few blocks to City Hall. The ride from downtown takes 55 minutes on a Sunday, so please plan your trip accordingly at You'll want to be at the 7th and Metro station by 10:15 am.

If you want to make a day of it in Long Beach, Sunday is the Pacific Standard Time focus day for Long Beach's museums. Many institutions will be offering special events and free admission. Check out Alissa Walker's guide at ForYourArt.

We have 10 bikes that can be rented for free, thanks to the City of Long Beach. If you want to reserve one, please be sure to RSVP with the "I need to rent a bike" ticket. We'll contact you to find out your height.

Please bring water, sunblock and a helmet if you choose to wear one. Helmets will not be available to rent.

Space is very limited so if you RSVP but cannot make it after all, please let us know so we can release your space.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Recap > Collecting Eames

Upon entering through a non-descript back alley door (which added a bit of exclusive mystique), de Labbers were treated to what can only be described as heaven for the modern design collector. Legendary furniture dealer JF Chen welcomed us into their latest show, Collecting Eames, the largest and most diverse gathering of Eames objects in the US. Daniel Ostoroff - dedicated Eames collector, curator, and editor of Eames Designs, a virtual encyclopedia of all things Eames - was our guide.

Daniel walked us through the timeline sharing with us the stories behind the objects and the history behind the prolific and talented design duo. From the iconic chairs to the very cabinet that served as Ray and Charles' impromptu changing table, the tour was an intimate look at how the Eames lived, worked, and created. Daniel even shared fun little anecdotes, such as to design-savvy rapper Ice Cube's apt assessment that "the Eames were masters of sampling." Indeed.

Among the highlights, an Eames-designed tube radio and their unique take on dorm living. For anyone with a chair addiction (you know who you are!), note that all the original pieces featured in this show are for sale.

If you missed the event, you still have time. Collecting Eames will be on through January 14. Show hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 12pm to 5pm, closed on Sunday. View more photos on our Flickr page or add yours there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

October Recap Bonus > A Film of Pumpkin Carving at KnowHow Shop

We have one more excellent report from our Halloween event! Check out this gorgeous film made by Dru Korab of our CNC pumpkin carving party that took place at KnowHow Shop in Highland Park. We especially love seeing the Jeff Koons piñata getting bashed to bits at the after party!

Thanks again to KnowHow Shop for hosting an incredible day of DIY fun. You can check out our photos here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

October Recap > CNC Pumpkin Carving at KnowHow Shop

Two cool dudes

On the last Saturday before Halloween, dozens of de LaB friends gathered in Highland Park at the KnowHow Shop for some ghoulishly creative high-tech pumpkin carving.

Sawing station

Guided by our lab-coated hosts, we sawed our pumpkins in half...

Scoop station

...scooped out the guts...

All the creations

...and chose one of several designs that the CNC milling machine would use to transform our gourd into a decorative pumpkin sconce.


We admit, there was something pretty creepy about letting a robot do our carving work. (Plus we had to stay clear of the CNC machine in action to prevent pieces of flying pumpkin from hitting us in the face.)

Great texture

But the end results were absolutely amazing, with rich textures and precise shapes that you just can't get from old-fashioned carving.

Looking good!

Here, two satisfied customers show off their creations, which they etched out deeper by hand to let more light shine through. KnowHow Shop also gave everyone LED candles so they could safely hang their lit sconces.

Scary Gehry

The more advanced carvers took to the laser etcher, where they printed photos of architect faces, like this one of Frank Gehry. Or shall we say SCARY GEHRY???

Bloody Bitter beer, homebrewed!

The party continued into the evening, with a keg of Bloody Bitter English Pale Ale (handcrafted, of course).

Great signage

Thanks to KnowHow Shop for teaching us about what they do, and for helping us impress all our neighbors with our fancy pumpkins. Let's do it again next year!

More photos are here and here. If you have any, please post them to our Flickr group!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 17 > Samara Golden at Night Gallery > Lincoln Heights

In a quiet strip mall in a former party supply store sits the nocturnal art space, Night Gallery. Only open from Tues-Thurs from 10pm to 2am, the black-clad walls house some of the most experimental art you can see in Los Angeles. Join us for a special night at the gallery, with owners Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple as they explain the concept of a nighttime only gallery. We'll also be joined by artist Samara Golden, who will lead us through her show, "Rape of the Mirror," at the gallery.
Rape of the Mirror, Samara Golden, 2011

According to the gallery's press release, Golden's show is inspired by movies like The Long Goodbye and American Gigolo. "Golden constructs an architecture of luxury made entirely of silver insulation material known as Thermax. Reflective furniture, a jacuzzi and a queen-sized bed fitted with light blue sheets occupy the gallery space. A video of breaking waves crashes over the installation, illuminating the darkness while stretching the space to the other side of the earth. The gathering gloom watch as lights fade from every room with Golden's perpetual state of sunset plaguing the scene with a foreboding red hue. Night Gallery is reborn as an ocean side villa dangling from a cliff in the sixth dimension."

Join us for a late-night de Lab on November 17th (hey, it's a Thurs. You can be late for work the next day) to view the space and meet the gallerists and artists creating an alternative art scene in Lincoln Heights.

Thursday, November17
9:30 pm Meet at Night Gallery
10:00 pm Tour and lecture with gallerists Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple, artist Samara Golden

This event is free but please RSVP on Eventbrite.

Night Gallery
204 S Ave 19
Los Angeles CA 90031
650 384 5448

There should be ample street parking around the gallery. See you then!

November 8 > Collecting Eames at JF Chen > Hollywood

Our next de LaB ducks into the showroom of legendary furniture dealer JF Chen for their latest show, Collecting Eames. The show features 425 products designed by Charles and Ray Eames, making it the largest and most diverse gathering of Eames objects in the U.S. In addition to the pieces of furniture for which the duo was best known, the show also includes rare posters, toys, and graphics, and extremely unique pieces like an Eames-designed tube radio.

Our tour will be guided by curator and editor of EamesDesigns Daniel Ostroff, who will point out some of the gems in this fascinating collection, and talk about the book which is being published about the show. You can check out more photos of the showroom here. Afterwards, we'll head across the street to Street, for eclectic drinks and savory snacks inspired by street food around the world.

This is the first event in our Eames Themes, celebrating the contributions and legacies of Southern California's greatest designers in honor of Pacific Standard Time. Stay tuned to hear about the next events coming up in December and January!

Tuesday, November 8
6:30 pm Meet at JF Chen
7:00 pm Tour and lecture with curator Daniel Ostroff
8:15 pm Walk across Highland to Street

This event is free but space is limited so you must RSVP.


JF Chen
941 N. Highland Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Recap > Oyler Wu's Netscape

de LaB with Oyler Wu

On a breezy October evening, de Labbers gathered in the SCI-Arc parking lot for a tour of Netscape, the incredible temporary pavilion designed by Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative. Dwayne and Jenny were commissioned by the school, where they both teach, to create a structure that would comfortably seat 1000 people for the fall graduation ceremony.

Oyler Wu's Netscape at SCI-Arc

As the sun began to slip lower in the sky, Dwayne and Jenny explained how, with the help of 15 SCI-Arc students, they had transformed 45,000 square feet of rope, 6,000 feet of steel and 300 square feet of jersey fabric into a canopy that could gracefully shade the crowd in the early September sun.

Oyler Wu's Netscape at SCI-Arc

The structure was actually knit using traditional techniques, with the students creating giant 4o-foot looms in the parking lot to make the panels of rope. The steel trusses were welded together and assembled with the help of two forklifts. The louvers, which are made from the same material as sports jerseys, were placed at the exact right angle to completely shade the structure at the moment the ceremony began.

de LaB with Oyler Wu

We got to watch as the shade crept over the parking lot, right on schedule. A huge thanks to Jenny and Dwayne for taking the time to guide us through their creation. You can read more about Netscape and watch a short video about the process over at Fast Company's Co.Design.


Afterwards we walked down the street to Wurstkuche for our own mini-Oktoberfest, complete with rattlesnake sausages, truffle fries, and big old goblets of beer.

Beers and brats

Mmmmm, beer. A few more photos are over at our Flickr group! If you have any, you can add them there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

September Recap > Neutra VDL Studio and Residences Lecture and Reception

Thank you to everyone who joined us for an incredible evening of education, conversation, and libation at the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences on September 29th. The evening was a fundraiser for the famous compound, which is currently undergoing important restoration work, and we are pleased to announce that de LaB raised more than $800 that evening!

Though the studio and residences are open to the public every weekend, we were treated to a special lecture by Leo Marmol of Marmol Radziner, the firm selected to oversee the compound's repair and restoration. Leo shared many interesting historical tales, including the fact that the original plans for Neutra's famous Kaufmann House are rumored to have burned during the 1963 fire at the VDL compound.

Thank you again to the many students from Cal Poly Pomona who acted as docents that night, as well as Interim Director Robert Alexander and Caretaker David Hartwell, for creating such a memorable evening.

To support the ongoing restoration efforts at the VDL compound, click here; to learn more about upcoming events and programs, click here. And thanks to all who attended!