Video> Eames Elephants Go On Safari

West
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
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If you love the Eames Office (and who doesn’t?) you need to see this new video by Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, who took several of their famous elephants on safari with him at the Malamala Game Reserve in South Africa. The stop-action video accomplishes what few in the design world have been able to: it brings the already playful pieces to life, wearing pith helmets, bumping around in their jeep, wrestling and checking out zebras, water buffalo, and other creatures (but curiously no elephants). Good news: it appears there will be more safaris to come.

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Dustup as UCLA Considers Selling Bel-Air Japanese Garden

West
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
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(Ann Bingley Gallops)

Try selling one Japanese garden, and all hell breaks loose. That’s what UCLA is discovering after announcing plans to sell the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air, which it has owned for more than 50 years, since 1964. The property also contains a lovely Georgian Colonial house and a traditional Japanese tea house.

UCLA claims that the move is necessary due to budget cuts (the site costs over $100,000 a year to maintain, it says), and because the property serves no academic or research purposes. But garden and architecture lovers fear that the site—regarded as one of the nation’s preeminent postwar gardens—will be in jeopardy if it transfers hands. UCLA says it hopes to find a responsible owner. We’ll see how this shakes out.

California’s Redevelopment Agencies Play the Waiting Game

Newsletter, West
Monday, January 30, 2012
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Curbed LA's image, above, of what downtown LA would look like without the CRA (Dando Guerra)

Right now California’s doomed redevelopment agencies have one hope, and its name is SB 659, a bill proposed in the California legislature to postpone dissolution of the agencies until April 15. The bill will allow the agencies to “address serious issues resulting from the recent state court’s ruling,” as bill sponsor Sen. Alex Padilla puts it. Those issues range from paying off bond debts to orchestrating layoffs to transferring assets and responsibilities to successor agencies. Without the bill, most say there will be chaos.

Read an full update to the demise of California’s redevelopment agencies here.

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Parklets Spreading Throughout California, Reach Long Beach

West
Monday, January 30, 2012
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Long Beach parklet (courtesy Studio One Eleven)

Our friend Alissa Walker reports in LA Weekly that San Francisco’s Parklet craze (SF now has 23 of the parks built on former parking spaces) has reached the streets of Long Beach. Designed by Studio One Eleven, Southern California’s first parklet is a  30-foot-by-7-foot space with wood decking  just outside of the city’s Lola’s Mexican restaurant. Lola’s owner, Luis Navarro, paid for the $20,000 parklet, plus the cost of the chairs and tables. According to the story two more Long Beach parklets will be opening in the next few months—one at a coffee shop and one at a Vietnamese restaurant. Meanwhile LA is on the way to getting its own parklets (hopefully) thanks to the launch of its Parklets Program at the end of last year.

The House That Dr. Seuss’ Wife Rebuilt

West
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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A porch outside Geisel House (courtesy UCSD)

The University of California Board of Regents yesterday approved the second phase of the rehabilitation of UC San Diego’s University House. Located on seven acres in La Jolla Farms, the eccentric 1952 structure was designed by noted Santa Fe architect William Lumpkins. It has been closed since 2004 when it was pronounced uninhabitable because of  seismic and system deficiencies. Here’s the best part: the house will be renamed the Audrey Geisel University House, in honor of the widow of author Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel, a longtime philanthropic supporter of the campus. Mrs. Geisel has donated more than 8,000 of her husband’s original drawings, sketches, books, and other memorabilia to the university libraries and donated more than $20 million to UCSD. The entire cost of the Geisel House renovation, estimated at $10.5 million, will be covered by gift funds including $1.5 million gifted from the UC Office of the President.

Pier Won: Michael Maltzan’s Lens Selected for St. Petersburg

East, National, West
Friday, January 20, 2012
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MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

Michael Maltzan Architecture has won the competition to redesign St. Petersburg, Florida’s iconic pier. In a group of ambitious proposals from the likes of West 8 and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Maltzan’s scheme was perhaps the most so, with a group of interconnected bridges and pathways arranged along a figure-8 plan leading to a large shell-structure at its end. Called “The Lens,” the gigantic project will frame the city through its structure and create a connection between downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront. It will include a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a water park and other leisure activities. More on this breaking story to come shortly.

More renderings of Maltzan’s pier after the jump.

Art and architecture merge at new Matthew Marks gallery

West
Thursday, January 19, 2012
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(Joshua White)

(Joshua White)

Matthew Marks Gallery tonight opens its new West Hollywood gallery, designed by architect Peter Zellner. The white, cube-shaped, 3,500 square foot building is highlighted by a huge sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly, which makes sense given that the gallery’s opening show, Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles, opens tomorrow. The sculpture, a dark colored bar measuring 8×40 feet, has been installed 30 feet off the ground, jutting ten inches out from the building facade, creating a floating effect. The metal sandwich panel structure was hung via a series of steel plates, “like hanging a painting,” said Zellner. Of course that’s a painting that weighs 5,000 pounds. Inside the lofty, spare gallery space, with its eight skylights, will be showing off some of Kelly’s finest work, including two works that inspired the facade piece: the collage Study for Black and White Panels (1954), and the painting Black Over White (1966).

Meet Vernon Davis, NFL Player and Interior Designer

National, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
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Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis the San Francisco 49er tight end who caught a spectacular pass in the end zone in the final seconds of Saturday’s game with New Orleans is more than just a football player. Not only is he an avid curling fan and player (he was honorary captain of the Men’s U.S. Olympic Curling team for the for the U.S. team in the 2010 Olympics) but he is also an interior designer. Davis is the co-owner of MCD or Modern Class Design along with music industry executive Antone Barnes. MCD focuses on designing interior spaces for “athletes and other clients that are suited to the client’s taste, but still affordable.” He tells his athlete clients, “You don’t have to break your bank to live well and have style,” and “this moment won’t last forever, so plan for the future.”

Check out his future plans after the jump.

Eavesdrop> A Very Gehry Opera.  Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry.Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry. Frank Gehry will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall this spring—as a set designer. He’s at work on a “moving still-life on the stage” for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s May production of Don Giovanni. The plans call for moving the orchestra upstage on raised lifts, about four feet above the action taking place downstage. Meanwhile, in a recent Q&A with Wallpaper* magazine, Gehry revealed that things are “getting slow” for his firm, to the point that he is considering—gasp!—proactive PR efforts. “We’ve got enough things for the next year, but it’s not the same as it was a few years ago,” he said. “I’m old enough to quit, though, you know what I mean? I’m 82.”

 

Finally, a preservation ordinance in Beverly Hills.  John Lautner's demolished Shusett House. (Tyco Saariste)John Lautner's demolished Shusett House. (Tyco Saariste) Patch reports that Beverly Hills, in part responding to the destruction of modernist landmarks like John Lautners’s Shusett House and Sydney Eisenshtat’s Friar’s Club, has finally passed a preservation ordinance. It’s about time.

 

SCI-Arc’s CHIP House Takes A Bow In LA

West
Friday, January 13, 2012
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(Ryan Tyler Martinez/ SCI-Arc)

After winning one of the top prizes at the Solar Decathlon competition, SCI-Arc and Caltech’s CHIP House is returning to Los Angeles for a victory lap. The unique net zero structure—with quilted, vinyl-covered polyester insulation stretched around its angled exterior—will be open to the public at the California Science Center in LA’s Exposition Park starting on Tuesday. It will stay there through the end of May.

Continue reading after the jump.

Giveaway> Pacific Standard Time’s Ice Cube + Eames Poster

National, West
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Update: The giveaway contest has ended and we’re pleased to congratulate AN reader and commenter Lori for winning the poster!

At the end of last year, a video of the rapper Ice Cube waxing poetic about the Eames (“They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”) made the internet rounds, warming the hearts of nerdy architects and designers everywhere. The homage was part of the high-octane promotion of Pacific Standard Time (PST), a series of exhibits and events in L.A. celebrating that city’s art and design from the years between 1945 and 1980. Promo materials also included a limited run series of posters featuring Ice Cube and other celebs.

Well, AN readers, your response to our previous blog posts on Mr. Cube was so enthusiastic that our friends from the PST team sent us the above hand-numbered poster (36 inches by 24 inches) to give to you! It’s in the office right now waiting to be shipped.

For a chance to win it, simply leave a comment below with a note about why you’re crazy about the Eames. We’ll randomly select a name from the commentors on Monday at noon (PST, natch) and contact the lucky winner via email.

Pacific Standard Time runs through April. Visit the PST site to see their line-up of programming, including the Performance and Public Art Festival January 19-29.

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