BRINGING SEXY BACK Johnston Marklee was already one of the hippest architecture firms in LA. But now they’ve catapulted several spots up the ranks. How, you ask? By designing new stores for Justin Timberlake’s clothing brand, William Rast, that’s how. The firm has already designed pop-up stores in London, Paris, and New York (to a chorus of screaming girls when Timberlake came by) and is designing more in Palm Springs and San Jose. And in November, the firm will open the brand’s flagship store in the Century City Westfield Mall. The architects haven’t met Timberlake yet, but will finally see him at the Century City opening. “I hear he’s very nice,” said principal Sharon Johnston, coyly concealing any desire to start screaming and desperately trying to rock JT’s body, as she darn well should. GERBIL CHATEAU Speaking of important celebrity news, we hear from the most reliable gossip source we know, Britain’s Sun, that architecture fanatic Brad Pitt spent $82,000 building a house and racetrack for his kids’ gerbils at his estate in the south of France. According to the authoritative story, the complex includes “a maze of tunnels, seesaws and platforms.” French gerbils. Brad Pitt. A racetrack. Mon dieu. We can’t make this stuff up. HOME TOUR HICCUPS AIA home tours are always an adventure, but rarely do they produce as much drama as the AIA SF’s fall home tour did in September. First, SB Architects’ Alabama Street residence ran out of money just prior to finishing up, so the firm reportedly worked out a deal with furniture store Room & Board, producing a staged effect that looked more like a showroom than a real house. There was also a last-minute switch in the itinerary when a loft in the Oriental Warehouse by Edmonds + Lee ended up with major water damage from a leak next door. The project was replaced by Cary Bernstein’s Liberty Street Residence. Perhaps getting your home on the AIA’s tour has become like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Beware, all you tour-aspiring architects. Send tips, gossip, and gourmet gerbil food to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com
Posts tagged with "AIA SF Home Tours":
The "in" color for homes in San Francisco these days is a dark charcoal gray. If you are boldly angular, the sober color helps camouflage you. And if you are historic, you can declare your modernist leanings by choosing to dial down any rambunctious curlicues. Inside the several charcoal-gray houses on the tour, it was a dramatically different story. Interior design for modern homes can play it safe, or go out on a limb. You wonder: Is it going to be straight-up Eames/Noguchi/DWR? Too-cool-for-you-Italian? Zen-rock-bamboo? Z Gallerie? Or a quirky mix of industrial materials and antiques? At the Mork-Ulnes house, the architect's own home, it was hard to spot anything that came straight out of the standard playbook. I puzzled over the origins of this curvaceous coffee table, below: Turns out that it was made by Mork-Ulnes' wife Lexie, who is a designer for Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn Kids, and has a flair for furniture. It's bent wood with a lacquered finish. Several blocks away, the John Maniscalco-designed house at the end of Cole Street greeted visitors with this graceful flourish: It's a mirror with a wire frame, draped with tillandsias. The joy of rambunctious curlicues, but ever so delicately controlled.
Remember the nursery rhyme? Jack Sprat could eat no fat His wife could eat no lean And so betwixt them both, you see They licked the platter clean. The last two houses on this first day of the AIA SF's Home Tours were rather like Jack Sprat and his wife. In Glen Park, the Roanoke St. house was a skinny 12 1/2 feet wide. Not too far away, the Bosworth St. house was only 42 feet deep. Each was an inspiring example of how to get out of a tight squeeze. And on this rainy day, where fall seemed to have arrived overnight, modern architecture's ability to grab whatever sunlight there was to be had was particularly welcome. On Roanoke St., Apparatus Architecture could only open one of the two long walls to the light outside. So, they made internal doors out of frosted glass, which keeps the hallway bright. To maintain privacy from the street, the windows themselves had "between-the-glass" translucent honeycomb shades, which cleverly get around the problem of dusty blinds (I'm guessing they were from Pella). Over on Bosworth St., architect Strachan Forgan of Sasaki Associates created a double-height living room with equally enormous walls of glass. A staircase with landings of glass floats you right up to the mezzanine level, and then to the top-floor master suite. At that level, you can see the tops of the black bamboo that create the house's back wall. Perhaps because of his association with the late landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, Forgan (who joined the firm ten years ago) made sure to include a serene sliver of a backyard--which makes his thin house look much deeper than it actually is. No fat on either of these houses! Tomorrow's roundup includes architect Casper Mork-Ulnes' own home, which looks to be a charming mix of old and new--he started with an old Victorian boarding house and modernized the inside--and a last-minute switcheroo of a Cary Bernstein house in lieu of a Edmonds + Lee loft in South Beach's Oriental Warehouse (wonder what the story is behind that).