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ZJ Boarding House Helps Save Our Schools

Posted July 30, 2010 by | 2 Comments

This blog is meant to be about DnA, design and architecture, not my personal causes, but in this instance they overlap, with a fundraiser tonight at the inimitable ZJ Boarding House, to raise money for public schools in Santa Monica and Malibu, that are being badly hit by budget cuts (hear more on this WWLA). ZJ’s knows how to keep the “fun” in fundraising, …

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Inception, the PMCA Biennial and an Architecture of Restraint

Posted July 27, 2010 by | 2 Comments

I recently saw the movie, Inception, which came highly recommended as the architecture-porn film of the summer. And stunning looking and conceptually inventive it surely is. But still, I left the theater thinking if that the movie-makers had spent millions LESS on car chases and explosions — ie. if they had exercised some restraint – the story would have been a whole lot more …

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Form Follows Frustration

Posted July 17, 2010 by | 3 Comments

Do fans annoy you? Probably not too much. Most people were pretty happy with fans as long as they did their job of cooling the air. Most people were also okay with vacuum cleaners; some were better than others but generally they sucked up the dirt. Not James Dyson however. He’s the English industrial designer who found these two household goods very frustrating, and …

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Action/Reaction: Biennial of California Design at PMCA Opens With Splashy Party

Posted July 17, 2010 by | 1 Comment

How does one encapsulate the last two years of California Design? How does one even determine what is California Design, especially in a global market, on and offline? It’s an elusive challenge but one taken on by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The show opened with a party worthy of a Chelsea art opening, as seen in photos, here, by Nicholas Mercure.
The installation …

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Inside the Wondrous World of Joel Chen

Posted July 14, 2010 by | 1 Comment

As I said in a previous blog, anyone who savors the urban experience knows that it’s often spicier when its treats are well-hidden. And it is even more delicious when those treats are created by someone with an impeccable eye and sense of theater. One of those people is Joel Chen, legendary LA design and furniture dealer, whose no-frills web site belies the fabulousness of the parties-come-exhibits he …

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Is Good Architecture a Luxury?

Posted July 5, 2010 by | Comments Off

Any architect schooled in the Modernist tradition is taught that architecture’s role is to improve society, whether in the form of decent housing for the poor or inspiring public and private buildings.
The reality is that most buildings are mundane, most are not even designed by architects and even those that are do not necessarily live up to those aspirations. Michael Maltzan is an architect who has …

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Death of a Friend: Stephen Kanner

Posted July 4, 2010 by | 71 Comments

A move to another country is a huge undertaking and the newcomer is dependent on the kindness of strangers to ease his or her passage into a new life. At least, that was my experience. My transition to life in America was enabled by many good people, one of whom I am devastated to learn died Friday. He was Stephen Kanner, architect, tireless advocate …

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Cul Is Cool: A Long Design Weekend, Part II

Posted July 2, 2010 by | 1 Comment

Anyone who savors the urban experience knows that it’s often spicier when its treats are well-hidden. The design and furniture showroom, Ford & Ching, tucked away in the back of of an old theater in Chinatown, is a perfect example. Shown, some images by Nicholas Mercure of last week’s party there, to celebrate  the saucy-sounding photo-show Cul is Cool. Willard Ford, co-owner, glimpsed in photo second from right, bottom row, was the attentive …

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