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.