“Design, Bitches” are no wallflowers in L.A. architecture

Meet the two women architects behind the firm "Design, Bitches." They’re currently converting the Highland Park Masonic Temple into a buzz-worthy events space.

Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph run a firm that is behind the buzz-worthy restaurant designs for Superba, The Oinkster, Counterculture, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches, Burger Lords, Button Mash, as well as graphics and products and other kinds of spaces.

They studied at the experimental Southern California Institute of Architecture, or SCI-Arc, and met while working for architect Barbara Bestor. Seven years ago they founded a firm with what they call a “badass” approach to design. This weekend their peers at the AIA/LA will honor them with their annual Emerging Practice Award.

Their inventive, colorful spaces are intended to make people feel welcome and comfortable, and to this end they gave themselves a name that gets people to feel comfortable with architecture even as it makes some people balk at saying the second word: Design, Bitches.

They’re currently finishing up a redesign of the historic 1920s Italian Renaissance Revival-style Highland Park Masonic Temple, which will reopen on November 3 as Lodge Room, a music and events venue, with an attached restaurant called Checker Hall.

We talk to them about their latest project, their desire to go even more public, and why the comma is so important to their name.

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