5 design things to do this week

Contemplate Los Angeles "context" and culture with KCRW hosts; discuss the future of the Bowtie parcel; learn about the art direction for Prince; immerse yourself in modern design at Westedge; watch - and listen to the 1970s Triforium come alive.

Gensler Los Angeles office. Photo by Ryan Gobuty

1) Images of Los Angeles: A Conversation with KCRW hosts at Gensler

The architecture firm Gensler is launching a yearlong series of conversations called CONTEXT with the goal of uncovering “the role that context plays in the conception of creative work.” By context they mean Los Angeles itself: the terrain, the lifestyle, the architecture, Hollywood, automobile culture, urban form, food and music. It opens Thursday with a conversation between KCRW hosts Frances Anderton, Aaron Byrd, Saul Gonzalez, Hunter Drohojowska-Philp and David Weinberg, each addressing different dimensions of LA culture.

When: Wednesday, Oct 17, 6-8 pm

Where: Gensler – Red Zone, 500 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (If you are coming by car note different address for parking: $15 with voucher; J2 Parking Structure, 404 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071)

Tickets: Free. Get tickets here.

2) Designing Open Space | South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie

The Bowtie is an 18-acre lot along the 11-mile Glendale Narrows stretch of the LA River; it connects Los Feliz Blvd with Figueroa Street. Formerly a massive rail yard and switching station, the brownfield site was purchased by California State Parks in 2003 to be developed as a public park and greenway. Currently it sits empty.

Enter the Bowtie Project, a partnership between Clockshop and California State Parks.  Since 2014, Clockshop has executed over 55 temporary artist projects, performances and events at the site, designed to encourage public engagement in the future of the LA River.

On Wednesday, Clockshop will host a conversation between Fonografia Collective, Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles; Kat Superfisky, Urban Ecologist at Studio-MLA and Executive Director at Grown in LA; and Helen Leung, Co-Executive Director of LA-Más. Fonografia Collective will discuss their year-long podcast storytelling project South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie; and panelists will consider the Bowtie and its relationship to the rest of the rapidly-changing Los Angeles, whose voices are heard, and why it matters.

When: Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 -8:30 pm

Where: Clockshop, 2806 Clearwater Street, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tickets: Free. Read more about the event here.


3) Purple Haze: Design + Prince 

From the album cover and the gig poster to stage design and the persona of the artist him/herself, visual presentation is integral to our connection with a musician, especially one as regal as Prince.

This week, AIGA Los Angeles hosts a celebration of creative innovation and the visual legacy of the late superstar. Grammy award winning Graphic Designer Lawrence Azerrad talks with Prince’s Creative Director Sam Jennings and Logo and Graphic Designer Mitch Monson about their groundbreaking collaboration with Prince.

The ticketed event will take place at the iconic Apogee Studios in Santa Monica. It is rumored purple beer will be served. Read more about the event here.

When: Thursday, Oct 18,  6:45 – 9 pm

Where: Apogee Studios, 1715 Berkeley St, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tickets: $40 members;$50 non-members.  You can get tickets here.

4) WestEdge Design Fair

WestEdge Design Fair comes back to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica this week for its sixth annual design fair, with a mix of emerging and established makers from all over the world. For four days, you can look, touch, talk, shop and gain insight from the industry’s top professionals, and check out new shapes, materials, technologies, colors and patterns in contemporary design, .

Additionally, for the Opening Night Party this Thursday evening, WestEdge has partnered with Knoll to feature and auction off 15 one-of-a-kind Bertoia chairs decorated by leading architects, designers and tastemakers, with all proceeds going to Safe Place for Youth (SPY).  You can get more information about the event – including a full list of exhibitors and programs – here.

When: Thursday-Sunday, Oct 18-21

Where: Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Tickets: $25 and up.  Opening night party and auction $85.  You can get tickets here.

5) Triforium Fridays: A Three-Part Series of Polyphonoptic Parties

The Triforium is a six story, 60 ton public artwork near City Hall that was built in 1975 for nearly a million dollars (almost 5 million in today’s dollars).  Created by artist Joseph Young, the piece featured nearly 1,500 Murano multi-colored glass cubes which were designed to glow in synchrony to music from a 79-note Gerhard Finkenbeiner-designed glass bell carillon, making it the largest musical instrument of its kind in the world.  The term “polyphonoptic” was even coined by the artist to describe the mixture of sound and light the sculpture was intended to create.

The problem was that it never really worked. The early computer technology was plagued with problems and the sculpture, already way over budget, languished in neglect and was denounced as a money pit and an eyesore.

40 years later an enthusiastic group led by Tom Explores Los Angeles host Tom Carroll started a restoration effort, earning a grant from LA 2050.  Now its original light and sound programs have been transcoded into modern software, and the Triforium will come alive for the next three Fridays,in polyphonoptic synchronicity with live musical performances.  See the musical line up for each night here.

When: Fridays Oct 19, 26 and Nov 2, 6 – 10 pm

Where: Temple and Main Streets, DTLA

Tickets: Free and open to all ages