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.

John Chase West Hollywood Map

Few individuals have been able to reshape and redefine the urban landscape (or work a mean mustache) like the late, great John Chase. The legacy of this legendary writer and urban designer continues to live on in Los Angeles, his vibrant spirit dwelling in the colorful, lively public spaces he helped to develop.

Last yearde LaB partnered with KCRW’s Frances Anderton to celebrate John’s influence in West Hollywood. From Plummer Park to West Hollywood City Hall, friends and admirers took a city-wide tour on the talented designer’s May 21st birthday, remembering his efforts to create beautiful, functional, and successful urban spaces.

To celebrate John’s profound influence on West Hollywood and the design community at large, the LA Urban Forum and design east of la brea produced this one-of-a-kind walking map, including 31 WeHo destinations that John designed, protected, enabled, approved, admired or frequented, along with descriptions, stories and anecdotes written by John’s friends and collaborators.  Designer Keith Scharwath created the map in an eye-popping trademark John hot pink hue.  The commemorative map is now available for purchase online. One map is $5, and three maps are $10. Prices include shipping. If you’d like to buy four or more maps, please contact hello [at] designeastoflabrea [dot] org.

Own your own special little piece of an LA design legacy.  Click HERE to get more information about purchasing a John Chase West Hollywood map.

LA Made for the Holidays: Interview with Frances Anderton


Alissa Walker, Marissa Gluck, Erin Cullerton and I were interviewed earlier this week by KCRW’s Frances Anderton for the last Design and Architecture show of the year. As founders of de LaB, we were asked to give our top picks for great LA-Made design gifts.  From books to garbage cans, DIY laser cutting to miniature air plant sculptures, our selections ran the gamut.  Frances caught up with us at the de LaB Holiday Party hosted at LACMAfollowing a viewing of the current California Design 1935-1960 “Living in a Modern Way” exhibit and we all crammed into my car in the parking garage for the interview, but only after we grabbed a glass of wine at Stark Bar.  All I can say is that it’s way easier to be on the back side of the mic than it is to be in front of it!

If you missed it, catch it again here.  Click to listen or just check out the links to all the amazing places and people mentioned on the show.

I still can’t believe we were on the same show as Jonathan Adler.  What an honor and such a great way to end an amazing year.  Hats off to all the creative people that make our LA design community so vibrant and always surprising.

Been: de LaB’s Collecting Eames at JF Chen

We had plenty of Eames-filled dreams after seeing the Collecting Eames show with de LaB last Tuesday, hosted by renowned furniture dealer JF Chen. Daniel Ostroff, curator and editor of EamesDesigns, led a tour of the design duo‘s 425 covet-worthy classics – the largest collection of original Eames furniture in the nation.

In his engaging talk, Ostroff demonstrated a healthy amount of respect and passion for all things Eames, explaining the history of each piece in great detail. From the utilitarian (the now-iconic plastic chair) to the innovative (a molded fiberglass La Chaise), and even the unexpected (a tube radio, anyone?), the exhibit gave a comprehensive look into the Eames’ impressive body of work.

“Collecting Eames” will be on display until January 14, 2012 as a part of the Getty’s art initiative, Pacific Standard Time. Check out the exhibit at JF Chen, or take home a piece of the show with the handsome hardcover, Collecting Eames, The JF Chen Collection.  Of course, all the pieces are available for purchase.  Or you can talk to JF Chen about Herman Miller repros.

Photos by Christine Kim/Secret Agent PR

Been: Brewery Art Walk

The Brewery Art Walk

After a visit to the Brewery in August for a studio tour with de LaB, we decided that it was about time that we made it to the biannual Art Walk to see what it’s all about.  This past weekend, we packed up the visiting in-laws and headed over to Lincoln Park to check it out.  The  sun was a lot, the beer was cold, and the studios were fascinating.  I can understand why some artists kept their doors closed though.  The Art Walk is like a giant, unapologetic open house.  Hundreds of lookiloos trapsing through your living space, judging your work, poking about your space.  Not entirely pleasant of you’re the private type of artist who requires solitude.  But then again, that’s what you sign up for to live in this thriving community of artists.

Chakacoco, pet fashion

Among the highlights, Cael made a new friend at the (I’m guessing, eponymously) named Chakacoco studio.  We also popped in on our friends at Fresh Pressed to check out their new loft.  They gave up their storefront in Hollywood so they could focus on design, but the good news is they still travel and print on-site at events. Hip Cooks was making empanadas when we stopped by and definitely had the best-smelling studio.  Sister studio Retimade was also there showcasing some gorgeous and irresistible eye-popping glass jewelry.  And we developed an instant art crush on Sam Kopels‘ abstract landscapes of LA which use color to evoke place.  All in all, fun.

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.