5 design things to do this week

Hear from PAO's James Shen about China's first architecture social enterprise; get an abstract perspective on West Coast landscape at CAAM; attend a design and architecture film festival; shop some modern objects d'art at swanky NoMad; and go to a new zine bazaar.

The Courtyard House Plugin / People’s Architecture Office, Courtesy of People’s Architecture Office

1) Lecture and Reception: James Shen, PAO 

While China has seen unprecedented growth and modernization, not everyone is sharing equally in the spoils. Beijing-based People’s Architecture Office (PAO) was co-founded by James Shen in 2010 to focus on social impact through design. Shen is the Donghia Designer-in-Residence at Otis College of Art and Design and will give a talk at MOCA this Wednesday. Among PAO’s signature creations are the Courtyard House Plugin (pictured above), a prefab system for urban regeneration that quickly and efficiently upgrades dilapidated homes without demolition or relocating inhabitants; and the recently completed People’s Station, a mobile cultural center made of a flexible kit of parts that brings cultural activities to underserved communities. 

When: Wednesday, March 14, lecture 7:30 pm; cocktail reception 9 pm

Where: Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA, 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90012

Tickets: Free and open to the public but reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call 310.665.6867 or email architecturelandscapeinteriors@otis.edu to reserve a seat. Click here for more information.

Eric Mack. Skateboard Movement, 2014. Mixed media on canvas, 4’ x 8’.

2) Charting the Terrain:  Eric Mack and Pamela Smith Hudson

In Charting the Terrain, opening Wednesday at the California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles-based artist Pamela Smith Hudson and Atlanta-based Eric Mack team up for the first time, to give voice – and color – to the West Coast landscape. Then on Sunday they will join curator Vida Brown to discuss “how their creative practices address notions of change in our built and natural environment.” Both artists create, says Brown, “intricate compositions of aerial views that are reminiscent of topographic or satellite maps,” drawing attention to scenes of natural and manmade devastation inflicted upon the environment, with a hopeful nod toward rejuvenation.

When: Opening party Wednesday, March 14, 7-9 pm / In Conversation Sunday, March 18, 1-3 pm

Where: California African American Museum (CAAM), 600 State Dr, Los Angeles 90037

Tickets: Both events are free and open to the public. Click here for information.

Los Angeles-based architect and USC professor Mina Chow made Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World’s Fair?, to be screened at the Architecture and Design Film Festival

3) Architecture and Design Film Festival

The Architecture and Design Film Festival, founded and directed by Kyle Bergman, is back in Los Angeles with a curated selection of films, director Q & As and panel discussions. This celebration of the creative spirit that drives great architecture and design includes 34 films and 12 discussions over five days, starting Wednesday. Highlights include films featuring architects Albert Frey, Frank Gehry and Glenn Murcutt; documentaries about balancing ecosystems and development in Lima, Peru; an unbuilt experimental city; the photography of Pedro E. Guerrero; and the demise of America’s participation in World’s Fairs.

When: Wednesday-Sunday, March 14-18

Where: The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S Spring St., Los Angeles 90013

Tickets: Opening Night $20.  All other films $14.50 per film with discount code:BOX; students $12. Click here for more information.

Da Vitro is a new limited edition glass collection created by young international artists from the Italian design center, Fabrica.

4) THE LAB, debuting this month on the ground floor of NoMad Hotel

As if the newly opened NoMad Hotel in DTLA were not already luxe enough, along comes French art collectors Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert (founders of PLEASE DO NOT ENTER) to add some more flash, with THE LAB, a gallery and boutique located on the former 1923 Giannini Bank building’s ground floor (NoMad Hotel was designed by Killefer Flammang Architects with interiors by Jacques Garcia.) The concept store, launching this Thursday, will exhibit contemporary art and design, as well as a “whimsically-curated hotel gift shop.”  The inaugural collection will feature ’Short Memories’ by Da Vetro and molo.  Da Vitro is a new limited edition glass collection created by young artists for Fabrica, the Italian, self-described “communication research centre.” Vancouver-based molo works on art, design and architecture projects from “from tea set to museum.”

When: Thursday, March 15 – April 8

Where: NoMad Hotel, ground floor, 649 S Olive St, Los Angeles 90014

Tickets: Free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Grassroots, underground and queer art forms will be well represented at LAZAABB.

5) Los Angeles Zine and Art Book Bazaar: Zine Makers, Art Sellers, Writers, and Witches

From Martin Luther’s 95 theses banged on a castle door in 1517 to fanzines of sci-fi film and the punk zines of the underground music scene, zines have long given a gutsy voice to the inception of movements and burgeoning scenes.  The Museum as Retail Space (MaRS) gallery in an industrial area of Boyle Heights will launch Los Angeles Zine and Art Book Bazaar (LAZAABB), a zine fest that “promises to give everyone a voice, even the spirit world.”  Co-founded by photography and film artist Josh Paul Thomas and Robert Zin Stark, owner-director of Museum as Retail Space, LAZAABB will feature zines, art book publishers, and artists with a focus on grassroots, underground and queer art forms. Psychics will be on hand to read palms, cards and the stars. There will also be food, wine, DJs, live performances and more.

UPDATE: Since we published this listing, the controversial activist group Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement (BHAAAD) published an open letter demanding participants divest from the event. In response, MaRS gallery has published this letter.

When: Friday-Sunday, March 16-18

Where: Museum as Retail Space (MaRS), 649 S. Anderson St., Los Angeles 90023

Tickets: Free. Click here for more information.