Search results for "coachella"

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Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley
Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined. Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House's low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte. Outside, it's the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg's fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design. [Photo credits: Keith Daly / Flickr, Michael Smith / Flickr, Desert Sun screenshot, KESQ screenshot.]
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The Coachella Crane
Ever since Woodstock, music festivals have morphed into celebrations of eclectic hedonism and of course, all types of artistic expression. Indio, California's Coachella, which starts tomorrow, is no exception.  In addition to three days of music, the festival offers dozens of art installations. This year the most prominent, right at the festival's entrance, is called Ascension, The Crane. It's just that: a giant white crane made of modular aluminum tubes and a mesh fabric called Textilene. It measures 45-feet-tall with a 150-foot wingspan, and the big bird's multi-colored LED lighting is powered by two adjacent photovoltaic stations that also serve as benches and canopies. The 35,000 pound crane, which was put together on site (all of its components fit into a single shipping container), was designed by Crimson Collective,  a group of socially-oriented designers led by LA visionary Behn Samareh. The group works to "bridge the gap between art and architecture," through interactive installations. Check out a fantastic video detailing the construction here. It should be noted that the crane is a symbol of grace, wisdom and peace. This explains why all origami seems to be crane-based, including, apparently, gargantuan origami.

Eavesdrop: Alissa Walker

A certain someone turned 80 on the last day of February, and 500 of his nearest and dearest were dispatched to the closed-until-Eli-Broad-writes-another-check Geffen Contemporary, including Brad Pitt, Arianna Huffington, and Laurence Fishburne. Frank Gehry had a cake designed like Disney Hall, a building he is no longer self-conscious about visiting, according to Paul Goldberger, who wrote a "Talk of the Town" piece in The New Yorker about the festivities. But the most provocative birthday wishes came via Frances Anderton’s KCRW show DnA: Design and Architecture, where stars from Ed Mosesto to Esa-Pekka Salonen revealed what they’d like to give Old Frank for his 80th. But we have to say it was Cindy Pritzker’s answer which, um, aroused the most interest: “Viagra.”

Two years later and 2,462 miles away from its New York origins, Postopolis (sorry, Postopolis!) made its second appearance on the left coast. The five-day blogathon was held on the preposterously chilly roof of Andre Balazs’ Standard Downtown, where it was so cold that fingers froze to laptops and the Belvedere greyhounds were served hot in mugs. Meanwhile, about half of those watching the string of architects, designers, and the odd counter-terrorism detective paraded onto the Astroturf by bloggers Geoff Manaugh, David Basulto, Regine DeBatty, Bryan Finoki, Dace Clayton, and Dan Hill, surely felt another version of the cold shoulder: Out of the 62 people on the podium, only 13 were female. You’ll be happy to know that the only panel with a healthy male-to-female ratio featured both your faithful Eavesdropette and fellow AN editor Matt Chaban.

We’ve heard Michael Rotondi is hard at work redesigning the Flea-founded Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a job that’s apparently on the hush-hush… Students at SCI-Arc have designed a shimmery pavilion for this month’s Coachella Music Festival. Perennial pavilion-makers and class instructors Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues, and Andrew Lyon assured us that mushrooms will be administered on-site to truly appreciate the structure’s nuanced detail… And then there were three: According to our sources, the Broad Foundation has narrowed its list for their new museum in Beverly Hills down to three firms: It’s now a face-off between Christian de Portzamparc, Thom Mayne, and Shigeru Ban, and nary a single Renzo.


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P!LA: Painting Sound, Ben Ball, Vampires, & MMOs, Oh My!
Though I already gave Mike the Poet pride of place, he was far from the only show in town Thursday night at Postopolis! LA. When I walked into the conference room--things had moved inside because the roof bar had been buffeted by a freezing wind all day--I saw a cluttered screenshot from World of Warcraft, something that had my inner-geek (aren't we all?) terribly excited. Indeed, Ben Cerveny of Stamen Design was talking about, among other things, deriving real life planning and tracking systems derived from more mediated sources, like MMOs. The talk was rather technical, and combined with my tardiness, I was kind of lost. Still, the potential is intriguing, especially after poking around Stamen's website. One of the examples Cerveny gave was the potential of cellphone apps. He proposed a program that would project one's preferences onto a wall, usually calibrated to some set of sounds and colors. When one person comes into proximity with another, it would create a cacophony or a melody between the two, depending on their settings. Another was a replacement for the personal library. As books decline in the digital age, Cerveny proposed a projection, ironically or not, the projection of one's digital self. "We're losing out real digital culture," he said. "Book-lined walls are being replaced with blank white ones, maybe a few modernist baubles." Whereas Cerveny and Stamen's work is about as technical as it gets, Steve Roden's is almost ambivalent to its very existence. A trained painter, Roden is seemingly obsessed with transforming one mode of experience, one sense, into another. His first, and probably best, example is how he found a piece of sheet music in his grandmother's attic. "I've never been able to let go of it," Roden said. But Roden does not play the music. Instead, he meticulously broke it down into its component scale--E-G-B-D-F, etc.--and then came up with a numbering scheme. That then gets plugged into a paint-by-numbers system that developed dozens of paintings. "I don't know how to read or play music," Roden emphasized. And yet, another major project was his installation for Alvaro Siza's Serpentine Pavilion in 2005. Roden, with the help of lay assistants working at the pavilion, mapped the structure in a rainbow of five colors, then transformed it into a painting, which, when he looked at it, resembled the scheme on a Tyco xylophone. He decided to turn the painting into a "player piano strip" that led to a recording played over an hour in the space. He played a minute of the composition. It had a haunting beauty for someone who seemed as though he could care less about what he was doing. Perhaps that was the genius of his art. Someone who cared very much, perhaps too much, was Gary Dauphin. An LA resident, Dauphin apologized for giving a presentation largely about New York, namely his home-hood of Fort Greene. As a gentrifier myself, Gary's talk about the cultural vampirism of gentrification really hit home. Dauphin argued that gentrifiers, specifically in Fort Greene but also beyond, are not always (white) outsiders, but generally ethnic (black/Latino) educated returners who make way for their new friends and thus feel guilty for it. The same goes for vampires, at least in the popular culture of Buffy/True Blood/Twilight/Blacula. More often than not, the story is about the "good vampire," the vampire who is trying to get beyond his vampirism, drinking synthetic blood or animal blood and not that of humans. When I asked if there was a solution to either problem, the answer was no. Finally, Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio. I shared a beer with Ben afterwards--more on that later--but his talk was mostly on what he's done and everyone knows--Maximillian's Schell, P.S. 1, Venice--and what's yet to come--a teepee in Woodstock, a bird installation at Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital.