Talk to many in the design community in LA and they will tell you they are already exhausted, because June is so busy. Let’s look at what’s happening: E3, the bumper gaming and electronics show on now through Thursday. Then this Friday night sees the opening party of the Los Angeles Design Festival with a party that will honor veteran designer Deborah Sussman. A few days break and then there is another bumper show at the Convention Center, Dwell on Design, the now annual showcase of Modernistic and “sustainable” design (the crowd at a past DOD shown above) taking place – the solstice weekend.
Being unveiled at the same time as DOD is Parachute Market’s “Psychedelic Summer;” this is the first of a quarterly marketplace downtown produced by Storefront and might represent a visual antidote to DOD since its theme is “postmodern design with roots in psychedelia;” you’ll find work by then- and-now PoMos (postmodernists) Peter Shire and AQQ but also some that might straddle Po and Mo, like Brendan Ravenhill and Tanya Aguiniga.
Then there’s the opening of MOCA’s A New Sculpturalism, this Sunday, June 16, with members’ party the following Sunday; after all the weeks of intrigue it will be intriguing to see the final outcome.
Following that is the preview of A+D’s Neverbuilt exhibit, taking place June 20; this is guaranteed to be a fascinating display of “could have been” civic visions for LA by luminaries including Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner.
And don’t forget to fit in a visit to LACMA’s The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA, just opened, and check out our potential future museum.
And go to WUHO for its low-profile but, in DnA’s view, high importance, How Small is Too Small, a double-bill exhibit showing a “Micro Unit” and comparative multi-family housing projects in LA, those “By Right” and those “By Design;” both exhibits challenge us to imagine how we are going to live with grace in smaller space. More on that on a forthcoming DnA podcast.
KCRW/DnA is partnering with several of these events; our DJs will be at the “New Sculpturalism” members party, UCLA’s Extreme Ideas: Runway and at the Neverbuilt preview party; KCRW’s master story teller Matt Holzman is also cooking up a radio series that looks at the human stories behind the “neverbuilt” projects. (We are giving away five pairs of tickets to the Neverbuilt preview party, taking place at Union Station Harvey House a reportedly splendid space that one rarely gets to visit. Watch this blog for details soon.)
Also, several designers who have been interviewed for DnA will be among designers represented at “Parachute Market;” among their displays they will include items they have customized especially for DnA Design Picks at the KCRW store. They include Tanya Aguiniga and Brendan Ravenhill, whose interviews by Alissa Walker have already aired, and Scout Regalia and Tracy Wilkinson, who you will hear from on DnA in the not too distant future.
Many of the above events, and more, come under the umbrella of the Los Angeles Design Festival, a smorgasbord of exhibits, talks, parties and store openings marketed under the umbrella title of LADF. It opens this Friday, June 14th with a ceremony presenting Julia Morgan Icon Award to graphic and environmental Deborah Sussman (right).
The festival is the brainchild of Dwell on Design veterans Haily Zaki and Michael Sylvester. Following is an interview by DnA’s Caroline Chamberlain with Haily Zaki, to find out more about we should expect.
C: What is the LA Design Festival?
H: Los Angeles Design Festival is recognition of Los Angeles’ status as a global design capital. I co-founded the event with my partner Michael Sylvester. When we looked at it we realized that the design economy in Los Angeles is huge. A lot of people here work in creative industries. Every design industry is doing great things in Los Angeles–toy design, car design, product design. We started the event because we wanted to give everybody a moment on the calendar in Los Angeles to collectively celebrate the things we’ve been doing. Basically we are design evangelizers.
C: What is unique about Los Angeles as a design capital?
H: It’s an amazing design capital in its diversity and the amazing pool of sheer talent we have in Los Angeles. It’s like manifest destiny, so many people move west for design. So many people move here from elsewhere. It’s design immigration. And it really is what you make of it.
C: How long has this festival been going on?
H: We are in our 3rd year, we started in 2011, we have almost doubled in size since 2011, we have almost 40 events this year.
C: How would you distinguish the character of this festival from other design festivals in L.A.
H: The main thing is that the Los Angeles Design Festival is open to all of the design disciplines. The LA design festival is different in that it’s wider. Dwell is a great conference, but it is part of a specific story. We just think there is a bigger story to tell. Anybody who has a perspective on design, whatever that area of design might be, we invite them to share their perspective.
C: What are some of the highlights?
H: The first one is this weekend, on Saturday we are doing something called the design caravan. It’s a guided car tour through the Valley, an underappreciated area for design with an interesting design history. We are going to be riding in these pink mustachioed cars by Lyft and visit places like an abandoned art deco Glendale airport and it ends at Griffith Park Observatory with a picnic.
The next event is Pecha Kucha Ping Pong and it’s taking place on June 26. Pecha Kucha is basically a fast paced presentation format that we design nerds love, and we are bringing it back to Los Angeles. It’s a presentation of 20 pictures where people only have 20 seconds per picture to capture the essence of each photograph. After the fast-paced design nerdy part, we are going to have an intense ping pong match.
The next one is Design Shopping Night which is on June 27th. A bunch of shops are staying open late. Some of them have special programs planned while others will have a big sale. It’s basically an opportunity for people to shop design for one special night. Participating shops will be all over Los Angeles, but the main neighborhoods where they’ll be located are Venice, Culver City, Highland Park, and Downtown LA.
C: What is the Julia Morgan Icon Award?
H: That is an award that we are and Wiles Magazine are inaugurating this year. This award came about because we wanted to recognize pioneering women in the design industry. Women are under appreciated in every aspect of life and they seem to be overwhelmed in fields such as architecture. This year we gave it to Deborah Sussman, a pioneer of environmental graphic design. The opening party of Los Angeles Design Festival on June 14th will include a ceremony presenting this award to Deborah Sussman.
For more information about the Los Angeles Design Festival, click here.