Parking Day LA 2012

With many people in pre-dawn lines waiting to pick up their brand spankin’ new iPhone 5s or glued to their windows waiting to catch a glimpse of Endeavor as it flew over LA, the crowds for Parking Day LA 2012 were not huge this morning.  Nonetheless, LA designers did not disappoint as there were still a few great pop-up green spaces spread across town from Culver City to Downtown.  We were lucky enough to be involved with two parklets this year, so here are a few of our favorite shots.

de LaB continued its tradition of hosting a parklet in front of popular Silver Lake eatery LOCAL.  This year the provocative pop-up park was designed by the Art Center grads at The Rare Studio.  Soft Publics was an edible, “sittable” pop-up green museum disguised as a construction site.

Culver City-based landscape architecture firm AHBE also built their perennial parklet near Helms Bakery in Culver City in front of everyone’s favorite purveyor of sweet tasty treats, Coolhaus.  “Parkside Confessions” gave passersby an opportunity to share their thoughts on urban green space, making the journey from teepee to tree of life.

The LA Times ran a great preview yesterday with a rundown of parklets across town and there will probably be more coverage of the best of Parking Day LA later today or this weekend.  Also, stay tuned for more info about the three permanent parklets that will be announced later this fall as part of a City of LA pilot program that hopes to set the rules and in turn encourage more permanent parklets throughout the city.


Go: LA Bloom Festival

April showers mean May flowers…LA Blooms, to be exact.  This spring, don’t miss the first-ever LA Bloom Festival, a nine-day celebration of transformation and Japanese arts and culture, hosted by the Japanese American Cultural Community Center in Little Tokyo.  Co-curators – acclaimed international artist and modern zen master Hirokazu Kosaka and landscape architect and artist Calvin Abe – have transformed the iconic Noguchi plaza in Little Tokyo into a temporary ecoartspace, replete with one of the world’s largest zen gardens, a colorful metaphorical rainbow (more on that later!), and exhibitions on contemporary and traditional ikebana.  Add to that performances, workshops, and a three-time world champion of sumo wrestling and you have a veritable LA Bloom bouquet of activities.  With so much programming packed into nine days, we thought we’d give you the how to’s and what’s whats.

Opening Night Performance: Mare Nubium – Friday, April 27th – 8pm

Mare Nubium is the abbreviated performance of the much-lauded kalpa, which was performed at the kick-off of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty. In Sanskrit, kalpa means eons, or a long period of time. It’s said that once every hundred years, an angel comes down from heavens and swipes the surface of a stone with her silk sleeves until the rock disappears. Hiro Kosaka creates a symbolic parallel between the kalpa and the inevitable passage of time that slowly transforms our lives and the memories that we hold onto. Performers include Butoh (Japanese dancer) master Oguri, who leads a small company of dancers.  It’s deep, and beautiful, seriously.  Buy tickets here now.  Listen for an upcoming interview with Hiro by Lisa Napoli on All Things Considered.

de LaB Tour with Hiro and Little Tokyo Happy Hour – Wednesday, May 2nd – 6pm to 10 pm

If you miss the opening night performance, catch de LaB‘s special tour with Hiro next week to get an explanation of LA Bloom from the modern day zen master himself.  End the evening with a much-deserved cocktail at Little Tokyo Happy Hour in the zen garden.  RSVP here.  Admission is free otherwise and the ecoartspace and exhibitions will be open to all.

Jazz Night with Mia Doi Todd and Motoko Honda – Thursday, May 3rd – 8pm

Jazz and Japanese culture collide harmoniously when gorgeous songstress Mia Doi Todd and experimental avant-garde jazz pianist Motoko Honda take the stage on the plaza.  Buy tickets here now.

Sumo Workshop with Three-Time World Champion Byamba – Saturday, May 5th – 2pm

Even if you don’t have kids, this is something you won’t want to miss.  World champ Byamba brings an often misunderstood Japanese cultural tradition to life for all as he demonstrates the basic sumo stretches and teaches a workshop for little ones.  Basically, a heavyweight workshop for lightweights. Admission is free.


Spotted: Landscape Art-chitecture by Cao | Perrot Studio

Since I was born I’ve have suffered from an unfortunate affliction: the dreaded black thumb.  For this reason, I’m always in deep awe of people who can not only keep plants alive, but use them as a natural medium for artistic expression.  In particular, I love the work of LA- and Paris-based landscape art and design studio Cao|Perrot Studio.

Vietnamese-born, adopted son of Los Angeles Andy Cao is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.  Native Briton Xavier Perrot was awarded the Lauréats des Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes” (Emerging Young Architects and Landscape Designer Award) by the French Ministry of Culture.  Together they seem to make nothing less than magic.

Cao Perrot Studio

From ethereal gardens for the modern abode to compelling public art installations, this studio pushes the boundaries of landscape architecture as a discipline and bravely explores landscape design as a form of art, expression, and experimentation.  Their work is whimsical and fantastic, ranging from magical floral arrangements to conceptual spaces shaded by hovering, shimmering cumulus clouds.  They play with materials to create experiential and unforgettable landscapes.

I’m thrilled to think that we’ll soon get the opportunity to work with Andy on an upcoming project.  More details to come soon.  All we can say for now is that spring in LA is about to bloom, big time.

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Been: The Square @ ULI Live!

YOLA, Urban Land Institute

Last week we joined 6,000 attendees from all over the country at the annual ULI Fall Meeting which returned to LA this year.  To give the visiting urban land folks a taste of LA, we worked with KCRW’s Frances Anderton and ULI LA‘s Sandra Kulli and Clare De Briere to curate a selection of pop-up shops set up around a mini-zocalo, each offering a native take on place making.

The Square proved to be a draw throughout the conference, with Homeboy Industries‘ graphic tees flying off the shelves, Conscious Commuter‘s electric fold-up bicycle attracting waves of other conscious commuters, and wanderlusters lusting over notNeutral‘s map-inspired dishware. Live performances by singer/songwriter (and chemist!) Dafni, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, USC’s “Spirit of Troy” Marching Band, and the Finn Kappe Sextet brought even more local flavor to The Square (which ironically could be found under a very triangular sign!)  Judging by the fact that the seats were packed throughout the conference, we think they liked it.

More importantly, for us it was a great opportunity to hang out for a few days with some of LA’s best and brightest.  The only downside: arctic LA Convention Center temperatures and not seeing daylight for three days.


Special thanks to Haworth and Unisource for providing the furniture for the entire Square.  Without their contribution, the wheelers and dealers would have had nowhere to do their wheelin’ and dealin’.

Also, a huge thank you to all the amazing LA participants: Art Center’s Advanced Mobility Research group, Bloom Energy, Community Arts ResourcesOtis College of Art and Design, SCI-arc, USC, Woodbury University, HOLA, Skylight Books, Watts House ProjectBill KleimanBehn Samareh, Standard, Tiffany Tedesco, Oyler Wu Collaborative, Rethink LAJohn Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, and Tom Schnabel.  Also big ups to the Finn Kappe Sextet for performing for a small-but-quality crowd and DJ Raul Campos for hanging out with us.

This project just further proves to us that LA is filled with some pretty awesome, talented, and ingenious people.


Go: A Night at The Square @ ULI Live!

Urban Land Institute, Los Angeles If you’re already planning on attending the ULI Live! Conference, the Urban Land Institutes Annual Fall Meeting which is being hosted here in LA this week, don’t miss ULI Los Angeles’ love letter to LA, a Night at the Square on Thursday night.  Co-curated by Frances Anderton, Clare De Briere, and Sandra Kulli, with some Secret Agent input, this pop-up zocalo promises to bring LA to life.  Don’t miss live performances by KCRW’s DJ Raul Campos, the urban planner-turned-urbane DJ, and the Finn Kappe Sextet.  See you at the Square!


The Square @ ULI Live! – Making Place, LA Style

Urban Land Institute, Oyler Wu Collaborative, SCI-Arc, The Square

Normally, we try not to post about our clients (separation of church and state, etc.) but we’re happy to make an exception this time.  The Urban Land Institute is hosting its annual conference here in LA next week and we’re thrilled to be working with them to produce The Square @ ULI Live!, a unique space that brings LA to life for conference attendees who might not otherwise see or be able to navigate this complicated megacity.  Curated in collaboration with Frances Anderton of KCRW’s Design and Architecture and ULI LA‘s Sandra Kulli and Clare De Briere, The Square is a vibrant patchwork of organizations and individuals who are making their mark in the realm of place-making with their own distinct LA-style.

Here’s a preview:

Urban Land Institute, notNeutral, Watts House Project

SHOPS @ THE SQUARE

The Square will feature pop-up “shops” selling a curated mix of ideas, visions for the future, and products.

Beyond the Car

Art Center‘s Advanced Mobility Research group and Conscious Commuter will showcase a range of conceptual solutions for urban mobility. The Advanced Mobility Research group will feature their own futuristic take on the car, while Conscious Commuter (a company co-founded by an Art Center grad) will feature their electric fold-up bike that is meant to integrate holistically into existing mass transit.

Bloom Energy

Recently named as one of 15 game-changing start-ups that will change the world by CNN Money, this maverick energy company will be lighting up the Square with their future-forward thinking.

Community Arts Resources

Fresh off the success of the third CicLAvia in LA, Community Arts Resources will be on hand to show attendees their approach to cultural planning and shaping public space.

Design Ed

Four local educational institutions will be showing representative student work that embodies their signature take on place making. Participating schools include Otis College of Art and Design, SCI-arc, USC, and Woodbury University.

Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)

This local non-profit will show attendees exactly how they engage youth in the arts, particularly their joint program with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).  Also known as YOLA @ HOLA.  Catchy, right?

Homeboy Industries

This LA establishment will be selling their designer wares, among them their new collaboration with Artecnica.

notNeutral

notNeutral will set up shop at The Square, offering up their signature brand of colorful, modern, perforated accessories for the modern home and garden.

Skylight Books

Longtime LA fixture and quintessential neighborhood bookstore Skylight Books will set up their mobile store for the attendees’ perusing leisure.

Watts House Project

Edgar Arceneaux’s artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment project will show attendees what their colorful vision is for the future of this South LA neighborhood.

Art Lounge with Bill Kleiman

With an insider’s understanding of the LA art scene, including the epic region-wide Pacific Standard Time initiative, LA Art Gallery Tours founder Bill Kleiman will be on hand to help attendees navigate the city and its many galleries.

PUBLIC ART INSTALLATIONS

The 20,000 sf space will also be peppered with public art installations designed by LA artists, architects, and designers.  Some of these installations will look very familiar while others are being created especially for the occasion.

cLAsh by Behn Samareh

Artist Behn Samareh has devised a new medium for creating urban scale art.  Using the latest in computer fabrication technology this process allows the production of works of unlimited size and scale. Created especially for the Square, cLAsh is an example of a new kind of urban mural.  The one-of-a-kind piece will be available for purchase or could be installed on a blank wall near you…

Park(ing) Day LA – LOCAL Park by Standard

Silver Lake architecture firm Standard debuted the LOCAL Park installation in September as part of the Park(ing) Day LA festivities.  At once literal and symbolic, the installation was a collaboration with de LaB.

Park(ing) Day LA – Community^2 Park

This interactive Park(ing) Day installation curated by Tiffany Tedesco brings together local community activists and artists to show how people can reclaim their public space and create their own parks.

Netscape by Oyler Wu Collaborative

Oyler Wu Collaborative will be showing the model of the Netscape graduation pavilion that they designed.  The real thing can currently be seen outside SCI-Arc.

Perspectives on a Future City + Re-imagining Wilshire

The future-forward exhibit by Rethink LA exploring what our city might look like in 50 years that debuted at the A+D Museum will be making a re-appearance in The Square.  The much-lauded Re-imagining Wilshire interactive modeling table designed by James Rojas that contextualizes the city as play is of course part of the modular exhibit.


Urban Land Institute, The Square, Out the Window

FILMS

Los Angeles is the undeniable film capital of the world.  But beyond the Hollywood stars, the city itself is a leading character.  These curated shorts shine a spotlight on the City of Angels and the leading cast of creative stars that make up the rich fabric of this shining city.  From the streets to the global arena this is a snapshot of the place we all call home; LA.

The Square will feature a revolving loop of film segments including: films commissioned by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects for the Guadalajara Book Fair Pavilion, Heidi Duckler Dance Theater, and Out the Window.

Urban Land Institute, KCRW, Raul Campos

PERFORMANCES

During session breaks, attendees will enjoy downtime in the Square punctuated by live performances by local musicians, including the Spirit of Troy USC Marching Band, local chemist and chanteuse DAFNI, and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.

On Thursday, October 27th, the Square will stay open late for a Night at the Square.  KCRW’s Raul Campos will spin a set followed by a performance by the Finn Kappe Sextet.  Throughout the conference, we’ll be playing an impressive play list compiled by KCRW’s Tom Schnabel.

Here’s the exact schedule of performances:

Wednesday – 10/26

9:00am – 4:00pm Chalk Artist (General Session Stage)

12:30pm – 1:00pm DAFNI, LA Chanteuse

2:45pm – 3:15pm Intro to The Square by Frances Anderton

Thursday – 10/27

8:00am – 1:00pm Chalk Artist (General Session Stage)

9:30am – 9:45am “Spirit of Troy” USC Marching Band

4:30pm – 5:00pm Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA)

6:00pm – 8:00pm Night at the Square

Besides a beer garden designed by The Lab, the OC’s anti-mall, and cafes serving Intelligentsia‘s eye-opening brews, The Square will also feature Haworth‘s interpretation of the NewWOW, or ways of working.  It’s the office, as re-imagined from the year 2020.

Interest piqued?  Unfortunately, the conference is not open to the general public.  But if you’d like more information about how to register for ULI Live!, click here.


Park(ing) Day LA – Local Park by Standard

If you were driving down Sunset Boulevard yesterday, it was hard to miss LOCAL PARK.  As part of the Park(ing) Day LA festivities, Standard collaborated with de LaB this year to create an unforgettable pop-up park in front of Jason Michaud‘s LOCAL restaurant.  The installation was part directive (park your car…), part invitation (…and stay for a while!), and when viewed from across the street, almost seemed like a new form of urban graffiti in the best sense of the word. We camped out all day to watch how people reacted to and interacted with the parklet.


Missed the pop-up parks on Friday?  The public gets another chance to see some of them at ArtCycle today.  Many of the parks will be setting up side by side along Santa Monica Boulevard in what organizers have dubbed “Parallel Parking.”  Kill Radio will also be showing footage of the parks at the end of the month at an event at the Bike Oven.  Huge hats off to all the Park-ticipants and Park-itects who helped reclaim LA’s streets for the people.