5 design things to do this week

Attend the unveiling of the Freedom Sculpture, make some sock puppets, celebrate DTLA's bike share program, explore "thickness" in architecture and hang loose with surf-inspired art.

The Freedom Sculpture by artist, designer and engineer Cecil Balmond will be unveiled at a festival and ceremony, fittingly, on July 4.

1) L.A. Freedom Festival and Unveiling of the Freedom Sculpture

This large scale sculpture by Sri Lankan-born British artist, designer and engineer Cecil Balmond is a tribute to Cyrus the Great, who ruled Persia in the 6th Century B.C.  The piece, commissioned by the nonprofit Farhang Foundation, is an interpretation of the Cyrus Cylinder, whose detailed script documented the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. and came to symbolize values of great vision, diversity and personal freedoms. In the sculpture, silver and gold-painted stainless steel inscribed in a type of cuneiform script appear on the surface of the cylinder, shining and glowing for justice both day and night.

Timed to coincide with our national day of celebration of freedom, the unveiling and official gifting to the city of Los Angeles will take place at the L.A Freedom Festival.  The festival will be a celebration of diversity and unity in Los Angeles, featuring amazing multi-ethnic foods, diverse musical acts, a range of celebrity speakers and much more.

When: Tuesday, July 4, 5:30 – 10:00 pm

Where: Santa Monica Blvd at Century Park East (street closed section), Century City

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Sock puppets are easy to make and fun to play with — for puppeteers of all ages!

2) CraftNight: Sock Puppet Extravaganza!

If the shoe fits, put it on the sock.  If the hand fits, make a puppet!  Led by artist Mimi Haddon, this DIY craft night will set your creative juices flowing as you embellish, sew, and decorate with colorful and interesting fibers, materials and goofy additions. Mingle and experiment as you craft your unique puppet characters, and even put on a puppet show, on your own or with an ensemble cast.

When: Thursday, July 6, 6:30 – 9 pm (demonstrations 6:30 – 7 pm)

Where: Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: $10/free for members (includes materials).  Space is limited, please register here.

Faster than walking, less traffic than driving, and Metro rail compatible, bicycles are making a comeback.

3) Metro Bike Share 1st Birthday Bash

You’ve seen them in other cities in the U.S. and around the world.  It took a while, but L.A. finally started a bike share program, administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). But in taking a little longer to get started, Metro Bike Share became the first large regional bike share program to offer transit fare integration, introducing bike share as a component of, rather than a complement to, transit — meaning you can register your transit fare card to ride Metro bikes, buses and trains.

Come celebrate a successful first year of the program, and share tacos, refreshments, music and raffles with other bike-share enthusiasts. Metro Bike Share pass holders will score a free gift at the check-in booth.

When: Thursday, July 6, 6 – 8 pm

Where: The Wheelhouse, 1375 East 6th Street #6, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: Free.  Register here.

4) “Maxi Spina: Thick” at SCI-Arc Gallery opening reception

The exhibition Maxi Spina: Thick at SCI-Arc Gallery explores the problems of material thickness, “a conceptual and material problem that sits (literally) at the edge of architectural thinking,” in the digital software period when, say the organizers, “thickness is infinitely thin. Its default property is a single line or algorithmic curve. Its “thickness” must be added.”

Maxi Spina was born in Argentina and is the co-founder of Spinagu (with Jia Gu, also head of Materials & Applications) and currently Design Faculty and Applied Studies Faculty at SCI-Arc. His show explores the topic through “sections, ruins, fragments, constructions, figurations, simultaneity, and representation.” He will sit down for a conversation with SCI-Arc director Hernan Diaz Alonso Friday, July 28 at 7pm.

When: Friday, July 7, 7 -9 pm (exhibit runs through August 13)

Where: SCI-Arc Gallery, 960 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: Free.  RSVP here.

Laird Hamilton surfing in epic Malibu conditions.

5) Sea Sick in Paradise opening party

Being at one with nature can be one of life’s greatest pleasures.  And it seems that surfers get hooked on the high like few others.  These strong passions are evident in the artistic works of surfers as they seek to express their deep feelings about the culture in which they ride.

Sea Sick in Paradise, organized in collaboration with the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies at UCLA (LENS) and the Surfrider Foundation, explores the longstanding relationship between surfing and art making, particularly highlighting work made in Southern California.  Themes such as diversity, identity and environmental concerns prevail throughout the exhibit, and demonstrate the experiences of a 21st century generation attesting to the draw of the ocean.

When: Opening Saturday, July 8, 6 – 9 pm (exhibit on view through September 30)

Where: Depart Foundation in Malibu Village, 3822 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Related events:  As part of Sea Sick in Paradise, a summer program of free art and surf-related public events, talks, and screenings will take place on site in Malibu Village, at Malibu City Hall and at Soho House’s Little Beach House Malibu.  Thursday, July 13, 2017, 6:30 pm panel: The Line Up: Surfing, Sea-Level Rise, Access, and inclusion in the 21st Century.  Saturdays; July 15, 29, August 12, 26, September 9, Summer Screenings.  More details here.