Eavesdrop CA 01

Eavesdroplet
Monday, February 1, 2010
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Belzberg Architect's Skyline Residence, recent site of Sam Lubell book signing, $5.6 million sale. Coincidence? We think not! (Courtesy Belzberg Architects)

TORCH BEARERS
On January 5, our New York colleagues attended a wake to mourn last month’s folding of I.D. magazine, the 55-year-old trusted chronicler of design where pioneer modernist Alvin Lustig was art director and a young John Gregory Dunne was an editor before turning to novels and screenplays. The bi-coastal bash was more of a gathering of the fellowship than a farewell, with Pentagram grandee Michael Bierut and former editors Chee Pearlman and Julie Lasky hosting. Fresh from Silicon Valley, newly appointed National Design Museum director Bill Moggridge, formerly of IDEO, was also there studying local rituals.

YOU WISH
Hagy Belzberg’s Skyline Residence sits on a gorgeous mountaintop ridge site. But much of its architectural innovation came cheap, with off-the-shelf parts and materials. Which made us sit up and take envious notice when we heard that the house sold for an over-the-rainbow $5.6 million, according to real-estate site Redfin. Maybe that means a new generation of buyers really value good design, or it could just be more proof of the old saw: location, location, location. However, Eavesdrop wants to believe it was the book-signing party for AN editor Sam Lubell’s new book Living West (own your own copy today!) that pushed the sale over the top. After all, Steven Ehrlich, Hadrian Predock, and Jennifer Siegal showed up.

GREENER PASTURES

Eco-prophet Paul Kephart of landscape design firm Rana Creek, which created the much-acclaimed green roof atop Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences, has had a turbulent few years. First he left his wife for an employee, throwing the small company into chaos. Then we heard the plants on the roof were turning brown, and that Kephart himself had a brush with near death. Now, Eavesdrop is glad to report that things have stabilized with the arrival of a new Baby Kephart. Take heart: Dad is definitely not the first larger-than-life personage to also have a complicated personal life.

AIN’T IT GRAND?

We love when planners decide to let loose with gossip-worthy statements. Last month, Paul Novak, the land planning deputy for LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, spouted freely to the Los Angeles Business Journal about the city’s long-stalled Grand Avenue development: “The project should be abandoned.” And he elaborated: “We need to rethink what goes on that land and how the county and city can maximize their returns. But it’s not this deal. We should probably start from scratch and issue a new request for proposals.” Meanwhile, the Grand Avenue site looks exactly the same as it has since we started the California edition three years ago. And we thought we were the ones who played fast and loose with deadlines.

Send gag orders and blank slates to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com

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