The Los Angeles branch of mid-century institution Heath Ceramics materialized last Friday night in a sweet corner location on Beverly that will serve as a studio, gallery and first retail store outside of its Sausalito headquarters. The space designed by local firm Commune was clean and bright, wine served in teeny sake cups and a keg on the patio made for a festive feel, and all anyone talked about was the economy. But Heath Ceramics owners Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey were especially buoyant, telling Frances Anderton that a downturn would actually inspire more people to seek out lovingly handcrafted items. New partner Adam Silverman (of Atwater Pottery) was also all smiles, his wild hair providing its own interpretation of uplifting, as he called his new relationship with his longtime crush “a perfect match.”
Architecture was heard and not seen at City Listening, the latest installation of de LaB (design east of La Brea), LA’s semi-regular design gathering hosted by AN contributors Haily Zaki and Alissa Walker (the writer of this post, but better known to you as “we“). Monday night’s event was held at the new Barbara Bestor-designed GOOD Space in Hollywood, where design writers and bloggers crawled out from under their keyboards to show us their faces, and in some cases, their feelings. The evening was packed with AN contributors and readers, including two pieces out of seven read that were originally published in AN!
When the Modern reopened its Yoshio Taniguchi-designed doors in 2004, critical opinion of the new building was split. Some critics and museum visitors complained that the building, and the institution it housed, seemed to lack a point of view, and that it was geared more toward moving hoards of tourists than to contemplative art viewing. One longtime MoMA watcher, however, cautioned me, “We always hate the new MoMA. Then you get used to it and grow to love it.” Read More
AN’s California Editor Sam Lubell will be hosting a panel about the creation of new and unconventional design at Gensler and USG’s Design Process Innovation Symposium this Saturday at 10:55 a.m. at the A+D Museum. Panelists will include none other than Gaston Nogues, of inventive Silver Lake architecture/art installation/sculpture firm Ball Nogues; Matthew Melnyk, of the omnipresent and hyper-advanced design and engineering firm Buro Happold; Richard Whitehall, whose firm, Smart Design, patterns everything from cool-looking thermometers to Serengeti sunglasses; Scott Robertson, a creator of ultramodern, books, bikes, and even the cars used in video games; and Tali Krakowsky, of Imaginary Forces, who co-designed the flashy set for this year’s Victoria Secret fashion show. Another talent-loaded panel, at 2:30 p.m., will be hosted by KCRW and Dwell’s Frances Anderton.
Tickets ($70, $45 for students) are still available: visit http://www.gensler.com/xtr/dpi2/
Widely accepted as the greatest public radio station on the planet, KCRW is famous for its groundbreaking music played by DJs who are smarter, cooler and infinitely better dressers than you. But last week was a bitter one for LA as the station’s great Nic Harcourt hung up his headphones as music director. For those of you who are already missing Harcourt’s esoteric taste (sometimes a bit difficult to take at 9:03am even after a visit to Intelligensia), never fear: Thom Mayne has stepped into the booth.
One day earlier than expected, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to amend the zoning lot at 19th Street and Arch Street, site of the proposed American Commerce Center. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the council’s Committee on Rules voted 9-0 in favor of the rezoning.
As we wrote last month, this does not grant approval of the KPF-designed project. Instead, it simply changes the zoning of the lot from medium density commercial site with a 125-foot height limit to a super-dense site with no height limits, making way for the 1,500-foot tower, which would far surpass its neighbors. With zoning in hand, it is believed financing and tenants should begin to follow.
Still, the project must return to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the council for final approval within the year, lest the rezoning expire.
Former AN editor and occasional China correspondent Andrew Yang sent us some pictures recently of what he describes as Beijing’s new, unavoidable landmark. Whether it’s on the scale of, say, the Empire State Building, we’re not sure, but it’s certainly looks as symbolic. He writes:
Whenever anyone visits Beijing, it is hard not to run into Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren’s CCTV building, which has clearly finished construction on the exterior, and is now undergoing a massive interior fitout. Read More
LA Times critic Christopher Hawthorne yesterday summed up the problems with L.A. Live!, the behemoth development in Downtown LA’s South Park district, whose second phase is now opening. Hawthorne decries its “placelessness,” its buildings that “have almost nothing to say to or about downtown Los Angeles,” and worst of all, its inability to help the rest of the area.
“When we trap the energy of an urban crowd inside this sort of self-contained world,” he writes, “and when we allow developers and their architects to heighten the differences between that world and the streets around it so dramatically, we help keep the rest of our blocks underused and, as pieces of the city, undernourished.”
Amen brother. While the development, with its mix of residences, hotels and entertainment venues, should certainly bring activity and money downtown in tough times, it is still a wasted opportunity.
Last Thursday AN California Editor Sam Lubell (author… ahem… of this post) moderated the first in a series of panels hosted by the AIA/LA called Design Dialogues. The discussion centered around educational design, and panelists included Hraztan Zeitlian of Leo A Daly Architects, John Enright of Griffin Enright Architects, and John Friedman of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. Read More