Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What To Do In April > Three Great Design Events

If you can't make it to our de LaB outings to the Tile House April 9th or to the Julius Shulman book signing on April 15th, be sure to check out these other great events this weekend!

Silent Disco: Friday night, join de LaB board member Barbara Bestor at the opening of her show at SCI-Arc, Silent Disco. The gallery space has been transformed into a place where architecture students can slip away from the rigor of academia and experience a legitimate disco experience, featuring everything from a simulated mirror ball and lasers (yes, lasers!), to a downloadable soundtrack. That starts at 7:00pm on Friday, April 1.
Heartbeat Japan: A fundraising event to benefit Architecture for Humanity, Japan. Stop by Saturday afternoon to see Sasaki transform the human heartbeat into futuristic fine art. Get your very own heartbeat drawing or have your ticker added to a larger canvas. 100% of donations go directly to disaster relief. Hosted by Materials & Applications (1619 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026). Check out a video of Sasaki in action here.
LA ForumFest: Hosted at the St. Thomas the Apostle school recently completed by Griffin Enright Architects, this annual fundraiser will include tours of the building with the architects, a silent book auction, and the exciting announcement of a new annual event in honor of former LA Forum board member and great friend of de LaB, the late John Chase. de LaB, in collaboration with KCRW's DnA: Design and Architecture, will be hosting an architectural walking tour of John Chase's West Hollywood on May 21st, John's birthday, with a group of his friends, family, and collaborators. We're looking still looking for more stories about John and the buildings he helped enable. If you know of a structure or a project that should be included on the tour, let us know at hello[at] Come out to ForumFest Saturday night to show your support for John's legacy. Purchase tickets here.

April 9 > The Tile House > Obscura Day

UPDATE: This event is sold out! Thank you!
Join us on Saturday, April 9 for an extremely exciting adventure to The Tile House, one of the most beautiful homes in Los Angeles, as part of Obscura Day.

For the past 40 years, George Ehling has been transforming his Hollywood Hills home into a veritable magic castle. Working entirely by hand, Ehling has covered every surface of his residence with intricate tile mosaics. This wonder of craftsmanship is not open to the public, but for one afternoon only, we'll be getting a private tour of the home from Ehling to learn more about this modern-day Simon Rodia. This adventure is part of Obscura Day, where people all over the world lead outings to odd or out-of-the-way destinations.

The tour is limited to only 35 people, and you must sign up at the Obscura Day site (if that link doesn't work for some reason, try this one). We can only take a limited amount of vehicles to the site, so when you RSVP, you'll see more detailed information about where to meet and what to do.

Thanks to Ford & Ching for sponsoring this event, and to GOOD for giving us a great meeting place.

Many more photos can be found here and here.

April 15 > Julius Shulman and Los Angeles > Burbank

On Friday, April 15, we'll be toasting Architect's Newspaper editor (and self-professed de LaB groupie) Sam Lubell on the publication of his new book, Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis at the Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University.

This beautiful book is one of the most unique collections of Shulman's photography. Sam spent a year digging through Shulman's Getty archive to find unpublished and unknown photos, so these are not the typical shots you associate with Shulman's work. Many were taken for his advertising and developer clients, and, together with some of his more iconic pieces, they paint a remarkable picture of a changing Los Angeles.

A panel discussion will feature Sam and his co-author Douglas Woods, Shulman's daughter Judy McKee, gallerist Craig Krull, and the Getty Research Institute's Anne Blecksmith, all moderated by architectural historian Alan Hess.

Afterwards, Sam will be signing books and has promised to save one copy for a lucky de LaB attendee who can answer his toughest trivia question about Shulman.

Friday, April 15
7:00 to 9:00pm
Panel discussion followed by reception

Woodbury University
Ahmanson Main Space
7500 Glenoaks Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91510

RSVP to emily.bills [AT] woodbury [dot] edu

More details here. See you there!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March Recap > Making Place at LACE

We hit the graffiti-laced streets of Hollywood on March 17th to support an exhibition inspired by, among many things, urban graffiti.

The Making Place exhibition, featuring local architects and designers Predock Frane, chee salette architecture office, and Florencia Pita mod, and curated by me, was the architecture-inspired third section of the year-long Painted Over/Under exhibition, envisioned by local artist Kim Schoenstadt.

Part closing reception, part intimate conversation about the exhibition, the evening featured a lively panel discussion, moderated by KCRW’s Frances Anderton (and de LaB Board member!), on everything from the current state of street art to the mutability of place. The conversation among the architects focused on how each of their pieces was in some way intricately connected to movement—in particular, the way movement around the city from the perspective of cars defines the typical Angeleno’s sense of place.

Three days later, artist Kim Schoenstadt’s final piece—a mutable, layered strip of vinyl that had been continuously placed beneath each of the former sections of the exhibition—was painstakingly revealed, replacing the Making Place exhibition, and rounding out her overarching vision. The LA Times captured the process and final reveal here.

The exhibition is on view through April 17th. If you find yourself in Hollywood, stop by to see how it all came together.

Photo credits: Andrew Hunter.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March Recap > CaliFERnication

We had a (very) full house for our Inglewood visit with (fer) studio. Principals Doug Pierson and Christopher Mercier, both alums of Frank Gehry's practice, greeted 65 visitors to their studio tucked into a semi-hidden complex between La Brea and Crenshaw Blvds.

After drinks and refreshments, Doug and Chris presented their vision for a proposed masterplan for downtown Inglewood to a packed room. Centered on Market Street, and utilizing an empty 3-acre plot of land (that is currently in dispute between the city and a former owner who defaulted on a loan), (fer) devised a transit-oriented plan around a proposed Expo line stop. The plan aims to provide a cultural and commercial mix that draws on the existing infrastructure of the pedestrian-friendly street.

The masterplan also includes innovative eco-conscious elements, including solar wind systems, a self-contained water reservoir, planted towers, and vertical gardens. The architects are taking on an unusual role, as activist and advocate for the city. What began as an internal project bloomed into a larger plan, with the masterplan now submitted to Cascadia’s Living City Competition. Yet the firm has a long road ahead, as it pushes the vision to Inglewood's city council.

For more on the firm's vision for Inglewood, check out the Architect's Newspaper's excellent article here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February Recap > Field Trip to Palm Springs Modernism Week

Thanks to everyone who braved the Mega Doppler-worthy storm last weekend to join us in Palm Springs for the closing weekend of Modernism Week. Luckily, everyone arrived safely at the ACE and the rain cleared just in time for our Saturday afternoon panel.

Seated in the gallery, surrounded by the photography of Leland Lee and Albert Frey, and the artwork of Nel Ivancich and Mathew Sumich, it was almost easy to imagine what it was like in mid-century Palm Springs.
The panelists each shared their design stories as well a few great personal anecdotes. But it was Albert Frey's long time companion Jean Farrar, now in her 90s, who stole the show. Looking almost exactly the way she did in the black and white photos with Albert (petite, lady like, and wearing her signature head wrap), Jean had some great stories. Apparently Mae West had beautiful hands and was a great business woman. Albert Frey had a propensity for fish heads and head stands. Jean herself once spent an uneasy otherworldly night in the bed in which Al Capone's Chinese paramour was slain. And, on playing leap frog with Albert Einstein, Jean remarked that "even geniuses are childlike at times."

All in all, pretty awesome. We look forward to hosting another event at Modernism Week next year. Special thanks to Palm Springs Life and Michael H. Lord Gallery.

More photos can be found at our Facebook page and in the de LaB Flickr group. Add yours!

Photos below courtesy of Loretta Vlach

Jean Farrar
Alissa and Keith in deep design conversation

Leland Lee

Mathew Sumich

Nel Ivancich, Leland Lee, and Jean Farrar