Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February 18 > Field Trip: Palm Springs Modernism Week > Backyard Oasis Tour

Michael Childers, The Hockney Swimmer, 1978, color photo, © Michael Childers

Join us for de LaB's annual spring field trip to Palm Springs Modernism Week.  This year, we'll take a tour of Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography 1945 -1982, another great Pacific Standard Time exhibition organized and hosted by the Palm Springs Art Museum.  The exhibition,  curated by Daniell Cornell, traces the development of art and cultural history within California Architecture and Design, Hollywood and Celebrity Culture, The Shape of Desire and Dreams, The Utopian-Dystopian Topos of Surburbia, and the Pacific Ocean as Context.

Once we've taken a dip in iconic SoCal imagery, we'll head to the brand new (and dangerously colorfulSaguaro to explore our own sub-culture rituals by the pool.  Formerly a Holiday Inn, the newly revamped property is owned by the Sydell Group (who also own the Ace Hotel across the street) and received a kaleidoscopic makeover by architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat.  The vibrant palette is actually based on tones found in native desert wildflowers.  The Joie de Vivre-run Saguaro, opens its doors February so we'll be among the first guests to check it out.

Saturday, February 18

1:30pm: Introduction by Palm Springs Art Museum Senior Curator Daniell Cornell
2:00pm: Docent-guided tour of "Backyard Oasis"
5:00pm: Poolside happy hour at the Saguaro

Tour tickets: 
Tickets for the tour cost $15/person and must be purchased in advance. We will not accept payment for tickets on the day of the tour.


We've reserved a block of rooms from Friday, February 17 to Sunday, February 19 at the Saguaro for a great rate of $109/night. To book one, simply call 1-877-808-2439 and say you're with "design east of la brea" (spell it all out, don't say de LaB). Reserve and pay for your own accommodations. Be advised there is a resort fee of $18/room.

Update: Wow, that was fast. Our room block is filled and the Saguaro is fully booked for the weekend. The Ace is booked as well. If you haven't booked your room, we recommend Caliente Tropics, which is just down the street. If you book through Kayak.com it's $164/night. Then you can still come party with us at the Saguaro! The Riviera also has rooms, although they're a bit more expensive. Also check Palm Springs Vacation Rentals or VRBO for house rentals—if you're with a group this might be a better option.

Other Activities:
Since it will be opening weekend of Modernism Week, there's no shortage of parties, tours, and exhibits.  Here's a full listing of all the events and ticket prices and availability.

Stop by the Modernism Week PreFab Showcase Village at 575 N. Palm Canyon Dr. to check out the latest and greatest in smart and sustainable living, including a new line of homes by LA prefab pioneer LivingHomes. Admission is free, no tickets or reservations required.  The village is open 10am - 4pm daily during Modernism Week.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Take the de LaB Survey!

de LaB buttons

We want to get to know you better!

Help us plan bigger and better events that meet the needs of LA's design-minded community. We've put together this short survey to help us understand who are, what you want and how we can make de LaB even better in 2012. The survey shouldn't take more than five minutes, and by taking the survey you get a chance to win a pair of tickets to an upcoming home tour!

Go here to take our survey!

See you in 2012!

January Recap > Inside Eames Words

Eames Words

On a rainy-then-suddenly-sunny Saturday morning, 50 friends of de LaB gathered at the A+D Museum for a tour of the exhibition Eames Words hosted by co-curator Andrew Byrom. It was the final event in our Eames Themes series, exploring the many Eames-related shows as part of Pacific Standard Time.

Eames Words

As a designer who focuses on beautiful typographically-driven works of art, Andrew had a unique perspective for curating and designing the exhibition, which he did alongside the great designer Deborah Sussman, who worked at the Eames Office for many years.

Eames Words

One of the most distinctive elements of the exhibition are the large letterforms that spell out EAMES across the front of the space. The two E's continue into the museum and serve as shelves that run through the space.

Eames Words

Throughout the exhibition are quotes from Charles and Ray Eames as well as everyday objects that influenced their thinking and their work. The experience is like getting a peek inside their methodology.

Eames Words

For example, Andrew explained how toys were a very important part of the Eames Office, from observing and celebrating toy trains for a film, to designing their own toys like their House of Cards.

Eames Words

It made us all think differently about those Legos and Tinker Toys from our youth.

Eames Words

Food was another critical element for the Eames process, both as it related to understanding a culture and as it served as a creative medium.

Eames Words

One of the most delightful parts of the show was a tablescape inspired by Ray Eames, who used to arrange gorgeous and complex table settings for her guests.

A rebus written by Charles Eames

And then the whole group solved a rebus written by Charles Eames. (It was hard!)

I love this quote, attributed to Charles Eames

The exhibition is one of the most fascinating shows of Pacific Standard Time. Thanks so much to Andrew and to everyone at A+D for hosting us. If you still haven't seen it, head over to the A+D before February 20—the show has been extended!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 24 > Going Hollywood > Hollywood Tower and Best Western

Do neighborhoods evolve on a block-by-block basis? We think they can. Join us as we visit two very different renovation projects on the same block in Hollywood that are transforming a section of the neighborhood once bisected by the freeway.

First we'll get a tour of the historic Hollywood Tower, to see the recently renovated French-Norman apartment building. You already know the 1929 building, originally known as La Belle Tour, by its landmark art deco neon sign that looms over the 101. Now go inside the V-shaped building, designed by architects Cramer & Wise, that once served as the inspiration for Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attractions. Joining us for the tour will be Alicia Scott, VP of Business Development at developer Alliance Residential.

Then we'll walk across the street to visit the newly renovated Best Western Hollywood Hills. Architecture firm Koning Eizenberg has given it a $2 million makeover, transforming the formerly frumpy building into a chic grey hotel. There's also a striking pointillist mural surrounding the now iconic "Last Cappuccino before the 101" sign. We'll be given a tour of the space with KE principal Brian Lane.

After the tours, join us at the 101 Coffee Shop for retro diner grub and that last cappuccino.

Tuesday, January 24
6:30pm: Meet at the Hollywood Tower, 6138 Franklin Ave
7:00pm: Talk and tour by Alicia Scott
7:30pm: Cross the street to the Best Western for a talk and tour with Brian Lane, 6141 Franklin
8:30pm: Head to the 101 Coffee Shop in the Best Western, 6141 Franklin

Cost: This event is free, and dinner at the 101 is pay-as-you-go, but please RSVP so we can get a headcount.

RSVP here.

Parking: Street parking only. Please check the signs.

See you near the 101!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 21 > Inside Eames Words at A+D Museum

You've sat in their chairs. You've watched their films. You've gawked at their house. But how did legendary designers Charles and Ray Eames actually work? What was their creative process? Where did all those ideas come from?

Those answers are found at Eames Words, the incredible show currently up at the A+D Museum which has just been extended until February 20. Within this "assemblage" of everyday objects ranging from a famous tumbleweed to a pastrami sandwich, you'll discover the Eameses sources of inspiration in "the uncommon beauty of common things." On Saturday, January 21, A+D is graciously offering de LaB a free tour of the exhibition hosted by co-curator Andrew Byrom, who will guide us through the Eameses methodology as well as the unique exhibition design.

Saturday, January 21
11:00 am: Tour of Eames Words with Andrew Byrom
Afterwards we'll grab lunch at one of the food trucks on Wilshire.
Free but you must RSVP

A+D Museum
6032 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(please do not contact the museum about this event)

RSVP here.

This is the third 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!

de LaB on KCRW's "DnA: Design and Architecture"

If you were at our LACMA event you may have noticed the de LaB hosts slipping away for a few minutes with KCRW's Frances Anderton. We were recording a segment for Frances' show DnA: Design and Architecture on new made-in-LA design products that might make good locally sourced gifts for the holidays. The show aired in December, when we were honored to be included on the same episode as Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan (our heroes!). You can listen to the entire episode online, and here are our picks for some of the most intriguing local design products of the year. Many of the designers will be familiar faces, as we've featured them at recent de LaBs! Thanks to Frances for having us on the show.

The Dustbin by Brendan Ravenhill: This ingenious trash can not only keeps a dustpan and brush at-the-ready, all of its parts were manufactured in Los Angeles by companies ranging from a 60-year-old metal stamper to a brush maker who produces parts for the Mars Rovers. $220 at BrendanRavenhill.com 
California Design
California Design: Living in a Modern Way 1930-1965 designed by Michael Hodgson and Ph.D: The gorgeous catalogue for the definitive exhibition on California design includes hundreds of objects produced in the state during the midcentury modern movement. $60 at the LACMA Shop
Rodarte book
Rodarte by Laura and Kate Mulleavy, Catherine Opie and Alec Soth: This art-fashion photo book is a collaboration between the Mulleavy sisters, renowned Pasadena fashion designers, and photographers Opie and Soth. It features the Rodarte clothes against the California landscapes which inspired them. $80 at Hennessey + Ingalls
toHOLD designed by Kara Bartelt: Part modern art, part terrarium, Bartelt's delicate pieces use succulents and airplants to create beautiful living sculptures that look right at home on a desk, a coffee table, even as a unique necklace. Starting at $8.50 at Etsy and other LA locations
Design your own present at KnowHow Shop LA: Visit this Highland Park workshop with your own gift ideas and their skilled proprietors will help you navigate their fabrication wonderland filled with laser etchers and CNC milling machines to bring your creation to life. Contact for prices
Geoff McFetridge
Geoff McFetridge's collection at Heath Ceramics: The Los Angeles designer and illustrator dabbles in clay for the first time with a limited-editon line of custom-painted dinnerware and accessories covered in McFetridge's signature doodles. Various prices at Heath Ceramics, 7525 Beverly Boulevard