At a time when most art galleries are struggling, it seems some of the big guys are doing just fine. First our friends at Escher Gunewardena, who designed the Blum + Poe gallery in Culver City, tell us they are opening a much larger Blum + Poe space down the street (rendering above) this fall. And now we hear from Art News (and thanks to a link from LA Curbed), that Richard Meier is doubling the size of the Gagosian Beverly Hills Gallery to 11,600 square feet. The project is set to open next year. Meier designed the original Gagosian gallery in Los Angeles in 1994-95 by converting an existing storefront.
The LA Times reports what we already knew: LA architect Neil Denari, who already designed the Endeavor Talent Agency headquarters, is now working on the interiors for WME Entertainment in Beverly Hills. WME was recently created in a merger between the Endeavor talent agency and William Morris. Its director is Ari Emanuel (Rahm’s brother, and the inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s character on Entourage). The agency will occupy a six-story building designed by Gensler (who recently lost the interiors commission for the project) that is under construction on North Beverly Drive. Denari will design 170,000 square feet of interior space, including a 200-seat screening room.
If you’re going to unveil a grand plan for development, you might as well do it from a place where you can see a big chunk of it. So it was a clever idea to launch the new Grow Smart Bay Area initiative from San Francisco’s Carnelian Room, 52 stories up, with its splendid panoramic views of the waterfront. The proposal, launched earlier this week, was put together by the Greenbelt Alliance, a Bay Area smart-growth advocacy group that just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It anticipates how the Bay Area can accommodate an anticipated 2 million more residents by 2035 without overflowing into the surrounding open space. Read More
Last night we had the pleasure of checking out Last Remaining Seats, the L.A. Conservancy’s series of classic films inside the historic theatres of Los Angeles. Last night featured Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli and Michael York (York gave the introduction to the event) in the unmatchable Los Angeles Theater, a huge baroque palace on Broadway full of crystal chandeliers and impossibly ornate details. Guests were even welcome to visit the crusty old projection room (with its ancient dials and dressing room), the windswept rooftop, the subterranean ballroom, and the luxurious bathrooms. Other classic theaters hosting the event in other weeks include the Orpheum and the Million Dollar, which have been restored in recent years, and host music, theater, and even church services. More pictures of the festivities here: Read More
Artist Mike Boucher was excited to bring American suburbia to the Venice Biennale, constructing a floating McMansion—complete with cheesy yellow vinyl siding—set to grace the city’s famed canals. Unfortunately the house tilted off a failed pontoon and sank; a disaster for the artist (who actually seems to find the whole thing hilarious), but a good symbol for our housing market back in the USA.
Silver Lake’s newest restaurant is certainly unexpected. First of all Territory is a Barbecue joint, not exactly a So Cal specialty (luckily the owners are from North Carolina and Texas, so they’re legit, and they serve some of the best pulled pork and ribs we’ve had in LA). Second they sell rare and vintage records; and third is the architecture part: it’s located inside one of the strangest buildings in LA. The bright green restaurant is fun, and relatively normal, on the first floor, wth a pleasant patio for noshing with fellow hipsters. But above rises a tall green appendage that makes half the building resemble a lighthouse. One of the owners, chef Curtis Brown (who only uses his grandmother’s recipes), isn’t sure why the building was designed that way when it went up years ago. But he theorizes that it may have originally been a seafood restaurant, hence the nautical theme (it’s most recent incarnation was as a pizza joint.)
Our friends at Architecture W in Portland recently completed this masterfully low-tech stop-action video— entitled House of Cards—depicting their plans for a new sustainable house made only out of structural wood panels. “We’ve become bored with glossy computer generated imagery,” explains firm partner Brian White. There’s not much more we can say besides check it out. And notice the strategic use of the Yoda action figure, of course.
We’re hitching the wagons this weekend to head to the 30th annual Venice Art Walk & Auctions, which include artist studio tours, gallery visits, a silent art auction, live music, and the yummy “food faire”. Of course our first stop will be the Art and Architecture tours of some of Venice’s coolest houses. We can’t wait to see Dennis Gibbens’ Multi-Use Townhouse (above). Here are a few more we’re excited about:
Yesterday the Los Angeles Conservancy held its annual Preservation Awards at a packed ballroom in the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown LA. Some interesting tidbits we picked up about the winners: The Biscuit Factory Lofts Downtown used to be a Nabisco bakery, making Oreos and other treats. Cole’s, the famous French Dip restaurant Downtown that opened over 100 years ago, is located in a former terminal for red car street cars. The day prohibition ended Cole’s served 2,000 gallons of beer. Griffith Park’s application for landmark status was 400 pages long. And the La Laguna De San Gabriel Park Historic Structures include Stella the Starfish, Peanut the Green Dolphin, and Ozzie the Octopus. The winners were all impressive. Here’s the list:
After spending a while at the AIA convention in San Francisco, we’re excited about new architecture there. One of the highlights of the trip was the AIA SF’s announcement of the winners of New Practices San Francisco, a juried competition based on the work of firms who have been practicing in the Bay Area since 1999 or later (yours truly, AN editor Sam Lubell, was on the jury, which also included Ila Berman, Director of Architecture, California College of the Arts, as well as architects Anne Fougeron, Jim Jennings, and Cathy Simon).
The winners will be featured in an exhibition at the Center For Architecture in New York from June 4-September 19, and then the exhibition will be on display at the AIA San Francisco Center For Architecture + Design Gallery from November 12-January 29, 2010.
And without further ado, here they are below, along with snippets of their amazing work:
The New York Times last week reported on “Smart Infrastructure,” or computer-controlled systems (energy grids, highways, trains, food distribution, health records, water systems, etc) that could increase efficiency and save millions of dollars. I.B.M, for instance, has had success monitoring congestion pricing in places like Stockholm and London, it’s improving management for bus and train systems worldwide, and it’s working with food producers to limit the billions worth of food that are thrown away every year. So the U.S. is creating much of the innovative technology, but other countries have been first to implement it. Well one for two isn’t bad.. The good news: On April 30 IBM announced $2 billion in financing to make such systems more easily available for stimulus-related projects in the U.S.
One of the highlights of visiting the AIA Convention has been leaving the convention hall to see some of the wonderful new architecture in San Francisco. We got to see favorites like Daniel Libeskind’s new Jewish Museum, Herzog & De Meuron’s De Young, and Renzo Piano’s Academy of Sciences. But perhaps more unique were the AIA SF Home tours, where we could step inside homes otherwised closed to the public. Two highlights were in the lovely South Park Neighborhood: the Gallery House, by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects and the South Park Residence + Studio by Sand Studios. Both are studies in contrast. The first, which boasts a world class art collection and a visually interconnected series of vertical spaces, contrasts huge exposed steel beams with pristine white art-ready walls. The second combines the exposed concrete and wood of an old warehouse space with sophisticated, and layered modern finishes.