Posts tagged with "Bureau Spectacular":

Here are the winners of L.A. County’s accessory dwelling unit competition

In recent years, L.A. County’s homeless population has elevated by astronomical levels, climbing over 23 percent in just 2017 alone. As part of the county’s overall Homeless Initiative, last September, the L.A. County Arts Commission launched Part of the Solution: Yes To ADU, a design competition soliciting innovative uses for accessory dwelling units (ADU) in single family lots. The winners were announced late last month. There are up to 1.3 million dwellings in the county that could accept such lots, points out L.A. Country Arts Commission Civic Art Project Manager Iris Anna Regn. Officials hope the competition winners will get designers more involved in policy strategy, and help homeowners visualize how to develop ADUs on their properties. Competition winners were selected anonymously from a pool of 43 professional and student entries. First place went to recent graduates Lilliana Castro, Allen Guillen and Cheuk Nam Yu, who suggested eliminating dwellings’ fences and walls to create more open neighborhoods and better integrate dwellings into the city. Their pre-fabricated constructions, imbedded with green wall panels, solar roofs, and art walls, would be cheaper, easier, and faster to install. Two teams —Anonymous Architects and Esther Ho — tied for second. Anonymous proposed a modular solution built around recycled plastic packaging that could be customized with elements like solar balloons, water tanks, gardens, and even bird houses. Ho proposed another modular solution, called the Barcode House, which could be easily adapted to varied uses, from dorm rooms to small businesses. Two Honorable Mentions went to Bureau Spectacular and Wes Jones Partners. Bureau Spectacular's Backyard Urbanism suggested that ADUs could perform other uses besides housing, like recreation spaces or laundromats. Jones suggested the use of shipping containers, their designs kept simple but elegant to fit into their contexts. The competition-winning proposals, and a handful of others, will be exhibited throughout the county for the next few months, including a panel discussion at Downtown LA's Institute for Contemporary Art on May 24. Already the Arts Commission has shared the visions via events at East LA College and the AC Bilbrew Library. “This is an important new typology that people are being asked to do all time now,” pointed out Regn. “It won’t just provide new housing options, but it could help people stay in their neighborhoods and keep communities together." Of course ADUs will not provide the only solution to L.A.’s homeless and affordable housing crisis. It’s just one of many strategies, added Regn. “Everything needs to be thought about now—supportive housing, mental health, social enterprise, much more— to solve this humanitarian crisis.”

With a newfound interest in housing, Bureau Spectacular’s aesthetic-driven practice matures

“We’re kind of new around here,” Joanna Grant, partner at Los Angeles–based Bureau Spectacular explained while taking a coffee break on a desolate sidewalk outside the shabby three-story commercial building that houses the firm’s recently relocated offices. “We got priced out of Downtown,” she said, before motioning toward the structure, which is currently occupied on the ground floor by a security door company that has strung up its various prototypes—drop-down metal doors, accordion style–security grilles—along the brick building’s thickly painted facade. The ecstatic setting is well-suited for the firm, where on the uppermost level, Grant and Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai helm an already storied practice that is hard at work tinkering away on a collection of new and evocative works that span the full spectrum of practice– “from spoons to cities,” Lai later explained, echoing a famous line by Italian architect Ernesto Rogers. Though the firm has been in existence for nearly 10 years—first as a solo project by Lai and starting in 2016 with Grant as a partner (Grant originally joined the office in 2013)—and has achieved worldwide renown for its eye-catching formalism and genre-shattering typological amalgamations, current projects under development—accessory dwelling units, social housing schemes, private residences—have the potential to reshape the image of the firm wholesale. As the designers pivot from fuzzy worlds, architecturally inspired comic books, and super-scaled installations toward built work, furniture and product lines, and gallery exhibitions, a chief question is on the table: Is Bureau Spectacular growing up? Palm Desert House Joshua Tree, California The office is also working toward several housing experiments, including still-under-wraps social housing schemes and a custom home for a client located in Joshua Tree, California. The radical private home is a love child of Le Corbusier’s “five points of architecture,” Philip Johnson’s Glass house, and the suburban tract home. The project features specifically calibrated window hoods that point the home’s eyes away from an unfriendly neighbor and hints at some of the formal and symbolic forays Bureau Spectacular might soon take in its work. Pool Party Long Island City, New York Building off of Tower of 12 Stories, Bureau Spectacular’s proposal for the 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program envisions a collection of ready-made swimming pools raised above the museum courtyard and filled with circulating water to create a “lightweight framework safe for five thousand drunk people” to enjoy. Designed in collaboration with Matthew Melnyk of Nous Engineering, the pools are orchestrated to shade partygoers via evaporative cooling and are designed to utilize minimal materials for maximum aesthetic result. A metal scaffolding supports the oddly-shaped pools, creating an installation inspired in equal parts by Cedric Price, Kisho Kurokawa, John Hejduk, and Yona Friedman. Tower of 12 Stories Coachella, California Lai, who is “approaching 40” and finds himself caught between the freewheeling days of his cartoon-addled youth and new potential endeavors in social housing, is perhaps most popularly known in the non-architecture world for the firm’s 52-foot-tall, piloti-supported Coachella installation from 2016, A Tower of Twelve Stories. According to Lai, the all-white stack of funny shapes is meant to represent a sectional model through a fictitious apartment building and is inspired in part by the no-space theories of Rem Koolhaas. The steel-supported and plywood-wrapped installation is designed as “a tower without typical plans, but rather specific rooms with specific geometries” and was lit up in a sea of ever-changing colors when installed in the High Desert two years ago. Snuggle Los Angeles “We’re still young architects; we’re just less immature now,” Grant clarifies when the question of Bureau Spectacular’s age comes up. As the practice has matured, however, many of the defining characteristics of its earliest works have remained, including the approach of considering design at the intimate scale of the human body. Grant and Lai have various product lines in the works, including a roughly seven-foot-long body pillow designed by Grant that can be twisted into knots around the body or looped around one’s neck like a scarf. The scarf is currently under production and was recently for sale at the THIS X THAT Pop-Up at MOCA Geffen Contemporary in L.A. Backyard Urbanism Los Angeles A common thread throughout Bureau Spectacular’s work involves imbuing orgiastic fun into everyday typologies, a notion the team applied to a recent Los Angeles County–sponsored ideas competition for accessory dwelling units (ADU) called YES to ADU. Bureau Spectacular received an honorable mention award for the contest with the firm’s Backyard Urbanism project that proposes more or less to collectivize neighborhood backyards with multifunctional ADUs that each perform beneficial neighborhood services like providing shared swimming pools or acting as large-scale receivers for satellite television signals.

Here is AN Interior’s first ever list of top 50 interior architects and designers

Welcome to AN Interior's inaugural top 50 interior architect and designer list, featuring emerging and established firms across the U.S. While these architects' and designers' talents certainly go beyond interior work, they are deftly pushing the boundaries of residential, retail, workplace, and hospitality spaces and cleverly reimagining the spaces we inhabit. Ensamble Studio  Boston, Madrid With a distinct focus on the process of making, Ensamble Studio leverages material technologies to produce dramatic spaces and forms. 64North Los Angeles Multidisciplinary studio 64North provides branding, interiors, website, and product design services. Architecture is Fun Chicago
As the name implies, Architecture Is Fun produces playful designs, frequently working with children’s museums; it won AIA Chicago’s 2017 Firm of the Year award. UrbanLab Chicago, Los Angeles
UrbanLab’s highly graphic design sensibility brings together smart solutions and visual identity in projects ranging from small storefronts to urban infrastructures. Design, Bitches Chicago, Los Angeles
The irreverent work of Design, Bitches employs layers of color, light, and material to build engaging interior spaces across Southern California. LADG Los Angeles
LADG produces uncanny forms and clever spaces by leveraging common construction materials.
Toshiko Mori Architect New York
The minimal interiors of Toshiko Mori belie their complexity, framing dramatic landscapes and challenging notions of craft. Young Projects New York
The formally expressive interiors and objects by Bryan Young utilize smooth geometries and refined materials.
Tacklebox’s interiors are filled with “ordinary” materials deployed in unexpected ways, recontextualizing the quotidian.
Michael K Chen Architecture New York
MKCA’s puzzle-like built-ins make the most of tiny living spaces. NADAAA New York, Boston
NADAAA’s work engages with high-tech material investigations and form finding. LOT New York, Athens
The influence of LOT’s Greek office is clear in its mellow, refined interiors and the firm’s furniture line, Objects of Common Interest. MOS Architects New York
The highly intellectual work of MOS plays on contemporary and historical architectural philosophies. Norman Kelley Chicago, New York
A self-described superficial practice, Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley explore the concepts of play, illusion, and flatness, all within an often tongue-in-cheek understanding of historical precedent. Snarkitecture New York
It should be no surprise that a firm named Snarkitecture produces works that are often outlandish—tempered by clean, white color palettes. INABA Williams New York
Part think tank and part design firm, every INABA Williams project is rooted in an in-depth research process.
Elliott + Associates Architects Oklahoma City
Rand Elliott has been focusing the country’s attention on Oklahoman design for the past 40 years. SPAN Architecture  New York
SPAN creates high-finish spaces full of carefully chosen materials and details. Home Studios  New York
Home Studios produces polished, finely detailed commercial and hospitality interiors filled with fine wood, stone, and metal detailing. Architecture in Formation New York
AiF brings together eclectic styles for a wide range of projects, from large hospitality to urban lofts.
Only If— New York
Only If— fuses smart geometries with clever materials for striking interiors.
Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin draw from their collaborations with Mexican artisans and use local materials to create contextual works for high-end clients. Bureau Spectacular Los Angeles
The comic book sensibility of Bureau Spectacular delves beyond the superficial with spaces that encourage the occupants to live a less ordinary life. Barbara Bestor Los Angeles
Between her many residential and commercial projects across L.A. and her book, Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake, Barbara Bestor is an influential force on Southern Californian design.
Johnsen Schmaling Architects Milwaukee
Johnsen Schmaling translates the beauty of the rural upper Midwest into site-specific residential projects.
Morris Adjmi Architects New York
Carefully proportioned spaces and forms—and a sensitivity to history— define Morris Adjmi’s elegant work.
Neil M. Denari Architects Los Angeles
Teaching at UCLA in addition to running his practice, Neil Denari is a perennial thought leader in the space where technology and architectural form meet. WORKac New York
With clever twists on typical programs, WORKac’s interiors are unexpected and playful. archimania Memphis
The progressive Memphis-based firm is taking a leading role in redefining what architecture can be in the Southeast through its numerous projects and help in redeveloping its city’s waterfront.
Shulman + Associates Miami
Shulman + Associates draw on the history, materials, and culture of South Florida to formulate vibrant, innovative commercial and residential interiors. Clive Wilkinson Architects Los Angeles
Focusing on workplace and educational facilities, Clive Wilkinson has helped define the aesthetics of contemporary creative professional and learning spaces.
Rafael de Cárdenas Architecture at Large New York
Native New Yorker Rafael de Cárdenas incorporates ’80s and ’90s glamour and pop culture into his high-profile endeavors.
Studio O+A San Francisco
The workspaces designed by Studio O+A express its clients’ stories and personalities, pushing the envelope of the modern office.
New Affiliates New York
New Affiliates works in “loose forms and rough materials” to create elegant spaces.
Biber Architects New York
James Biber approaches every project with a fresh vision, letting design and function guide the form.
Olson Kundig Seattle
With a dedicated interiors studio, Olson Kundig has redefined the Pacific Northwest architectural typology.
OFFICIAL Dallas
OFFICIAL designs bright interiors with pops of color and custom furnishings. The two-person studio also has its own furniture line.
Aidlin Darling Design San Francisco
Materials are at the forefront of and celebrated in each project by Aidlin Darling Design. Leong Leong  New York
Brothers Christopher and Dominic Leong use broad, decisive formal moves to organize space into crisp, refined interiors. Alexander Gorlin Architects New York
For the past two decades, even when minimalism reigned, Alexander Gorlin has been layering colors and patterns with great success. Craig Steely Architecture San Francisco
Craig Steely celebrates the tropical locales of his projects with interiors that reflect and embrace the native flora.
Aranda\Lasch New York, Tuscon
Truly experimental, Aranda\Lasch explores pattern and fabrications as easily as space and form.
Andre Kikoski Architect New York
Known for creating everything from architectural interiors to furniture and finishes, Andre Kikoski consistently delivers refined designs. SO-IL New York
Airy and ethereal, yet highly programmatic, the formal and material exercises by SO-IL are unmistakable. Peter Marino Architect New York
Leather-clad Peter Marino is the go-to for sumptuous interiors in high-end retail and hospitality around the world. Slade Architecture  New York
Slade’s lighthearted approach brings together form, color, pattern, and material. Charlap Hyman & Herrero  Los Angeles, New York
Bold interior forms with a refined material palette typify the work of RISD graduates Andre Herrero and Adam Charlap Hyman.
BarlisWedlick Architects New York
BarlisWedlick produces super-efficient, passive projects without neglecting aesthetics. Schiller Projects New York
Schiller Projects works through analytic research to design everything from architecture to branding.
Reddymade Design New York
Reddymade’s interiors are influenced by founder Suchi Reddy’s Indian upbringing, with lush colors, patterns, and rich materials.

Young designers pop up at L.A.’s Geffen Contemporary

Los Angeles–based design consultancy THIS X THAT has unveiled their new Store Pop-Up, a temporary installation of design objects created by a collection of emerging designers that includes Besler & Sons, Bureau Spectacular, and Welcome Companions taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles. The pop-up shop features “limited-edition objects for home and garden that offer imaginative solutions for everyday life,” according to a press release. The diverse collection of objects includes decorative lamps, paperweights, and even garden gnomes, among others. The display brings together five practices in total, with New York City–based New Affiliates and Syracuse, New York–based Architecture Office rounding out the group. For the store display, Besler & Sons designed a trio of informal mobile kiosks that hold the various objects. The Wabi-sabi look of the display—which is dubbed “Trusses on Trucks” by the designers—is derived from “an interest in the iconicity of vernacular built forms, particularly residential house frames, trusses, and the sloped roof itself,” according to a press release. Made from stacked and butt-jointed sheets of plywood, the displays are held together with industrial tension straps and are made to be assembled and disassembled quickly. In terms of the objects on display Besler & Sons also contributed a series of oversized paperweights made out of pink, white, and blue terrazzo. Bureau Spectacular made two contributions to the store, with principal Jimenez Lai designing a blue neon lamp drawn to resemble a scribble and principal Joanna Grant creating a flexible, tube-shaped body pillow. Lai’s lamp was recently added to the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Describing the so-called “snuggle,” Grant said, “It can function as a pillow or an outrageously large scarf," adding that she envisioned an object with "inexact tendencies" that could "conform to different orientations of the body and take on different readings.” Welcome Companions designed a series of leather charms designed to be affixed to handbag handles and tote bag straps. The charms are shaped like over-easy eggs, slices of toast, popsicles, and pills, among other shapes and represent part of the office’s efforts to “inject a sense of play, suspense, and narrative” into everyday objects. New Affiliates brings a similar playfulness to their work, here manifested as a series of  brightly-colored “garden gnomes,” “quasi-functional ornamental objects” designed by the office as flat-packed objects meant to fit anywhere. For the shop, Architecture Office created runs of bespoke wallpaper “designed, cut, and printed in Upstate New York” and inspired by Los Angeles’s sunrises. The wallpaper comes as a vinyl film that can be applied multiple times over smooth surfaces and is meant to be “put up by anyone anywhere to jazz up a monotonous wall with a graphic sparkle and a splash of color.” The works will be on display—and for sale—at the museum gallery through March 19, 2018.

After the fires, the Monterey Design Conference offers a chance for reflection

When the Sonoma and Napa fires of 2017 tore through the Bay Area design community, several thousand structures were destroyed, and as many as 15,000 people were left without homes. Architects whose families and clients lost homes made it to the Monterey Design Conference last October to find comfort and to connect. Every year, I buttonhole attendees to seek out their favorite presenters. Sou Fujimoto won my informal poll, so I’ll start with him. Fujimoto began his presentation with a photo of a tree and a Tokyo city scene. The title of his lecture, “Between Nature and Architecture,” turned out to be the unintended theme for the conference. In all his work, Fujimoto questions obvious assumptions. This was true with two relatively small houses, House N and House NA, where he redefined the interior/exterior boundary. As with Richard Meier, most of his work is white. But unlike Meier’s work, his strives to almost disappear. He even questions assumptions about how to design a public bathroom in Ichihara, making the structure completely transparent and the landscape wholly private. Weiss/Manfredi’s opening lecture addressed the “binary reading of the natural and artificial.” Their low-rise projects express inventive ways to weave structure and landscape together, like Seattle’s Olympia Sculpture Park (2007) or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Center (2012). This approach reaches its apogee in the Novartis Visitor Center (2013). I can’t remember a high-security checkpoint being so graceful—like the spirit of one of Calatrava’s birds rather than the remains. They reminded us, with their handsome portfolio, that our experience of nature is largely constructed. An unexpected surprise was a last-minute replacement, the tall and very funny Jeff Goldstein from the Philadelphia based firm DIGSAU. Without a written script, he showed us a modest not-for-profit center that trains at-risk youth. Students helped build the wood collage wall. It was a glorious example of how to create authentic community engagement. Shohei Shigematsu, the head of the OMA’s New York office, showed us that there is a future to OMA beyond Rem Koolhaas. Milstein Hall, the expanded center at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning reminded of some of the big moves architects employed in the 60s. OMA’s diagrams are ingenious, but the spaces are not inviting. One of Shigematsu’s most interesting projects is his collaboration with artist Taryn Simon at the Park Avenue Armory. The concrete columns have a stillness that some of the jazzier permanent buildings do not. My spectacular visuals award goes to Dominique Jakob of the Paris-based Jakob + MacFarlane. Their design appears to be rooted in digital technology and seemed far removed from the mundane requirements of our West Coast digital overlords. On the river in Lyon, two office buildings, the “Orange Cube” and the “Green Cube,” with bold color and grand cutouts, make Apple’s and Facebook’s new buildings look almost banal. The firm’s 100-unit social housing project in Paris doesn’t follow the form of typical Parisian apartment blocks, and Jakob’s use of ETFE film for balcony curtains gives the building a wrapped Christo look on each floor. What was called the “Tribal Elders” slot at previous conferences was filled with the Los Angeles graphic and exhibition designer Gere Kavanaugh. Noted architect and writer Pierluigi Serraino, a raconteur and interviewer of some skill, could not contain Ms. Kavanaugh. While her presentation of modernist graphics did go on too long, Gere was entertaining. Another determined Angeleno, Julie Eizenberg, talked about Urban Hallucinations, her new non-monograph. Her firm Koning Eizenberg has focused on Los Angeles. They are unafraid of the quirky, the cheap, the historic, the imaginary, the gritty, or the glamorous. This is an architect who thrives on constraints and, as she says, “stretches the limits.” One of my favorite new projects was the Pico Branch Library, which allows everybody to connect to the larger digital universe while staying grounded in the very nonimaginary neighborhood. The “Emerging Talents” included Laura Crescimano, a founder of SITELAB Urban Studio with the late Evan Rose. She charts the course for design professionals engaging disadvantaged communities. Heather Roberge of Murmur and Jimenez Lai and Joanna Grant of Bureau Spectacular reminded us that Los Angeles’s up-and-coming architects are just as bold as the earlier generation. Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects alum Alan Tse stole the show. In the few minutes he was allotted, he made us laugh and admire his considerable talent. His restaurants and interiors are sublime, and his construction budgets are what other architects would charge in fees. He made architecture real in a way I’ve rarely seen. We all needed some levity and inspiration as we returned home to question how or even whether we should rebuild so close to the wildland/urban interface. As with most Monterey Design Conferences, we came away with more questions and few answers.

Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel, and TAKT PROJECT given 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award

Swarovski and Design Miami/ have named designers Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel and TAKT PROJECT as the winners of the 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award. The award, according to a press release, will help the designers advance innovative projects within their individual fields with the aim of developing a “new prototype or design statement that is inspired or informed by crystal.” The recipients have been commissioned to create new work for exhibition at the 2017 Design Miami / Basel art showcase occurring later this year in Switzerland. Though each of the winners will work on a separate project, the works of all three designers will be exhibited in a singular installation generally focused around the uses of new technologies. Los Angeles-based Lai—founder of design firm Bureau Spectacular—will focus on exploring design through storytelling in order to create a surface-based installation. Lai will also strive to create an overall architectural character for the installation. In the press release, Lai said, “I’m excited to bring an architectural perspective to this year’s installation. Working with crystal is a stimulating new challenge as it creates a visual quality that is unlike most other materials designers normally use.” Lai referred his project as a "terrazzo palazzo" at an awards lunch, saying, "I mapped out how much time I spent on various activities throughout the day—eating, sleeping, sitting, etc.—and translated that amount of time into proportions for the design. So, for example, since the vast majority of my time is spent sitting, the majority of the structure can be used for sitting." Lai added that he would re-use the imperfect Swarovski crystals sorted out of production during quality control inspections for his palazzo, saying, "If we think about 'reduce, reuse, recycle,' it actually costs more energy to recycle than reuse. With that in mind, I wanted to take the crystals that were not selected and make a terrazzo. It's a very malleable architectural product." Tokyo-based TAKT PROJECT will partner with glass 3D-printing company MICRON3DP to produce tabletop objects made of 3D-printed Swarovski crystals. When describing the project, Satoshi Yoshiizuofmi of TAKT PROJECT focused on the innovative aspects of the work, saying, "It's a completely new technology, so the process is very exciting and very experimental." And London-based Marjan van Aubel will develop so-called “living light objects” in collaboration with Swarovski’s in-house solar technology experts. At the same awards lunch, van Aubel said, "We are going to take the light from the sky and bring it inside using solar crystals. As a designer, I am really interested in using solar technology and making it more aesthetically pleasing and more integrated." For more information on 2017 Design Miami / Basel, see the showcase website.

SFMOMA to open exhibition of Bureau Spectacular works

Los Angeles-based design firm Bureau Spectacular, in its first West Coast museum showcase, is exhibiting some of their graphic and three-dimensional work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) this month.   The exhibition, titled insideoutsidebetweenbeyond, builds on architectural ideas developed by Bureau Spectacular-leader Jimenez Lai in an eponymous drawing made in 2014. Through the drawing, Lai explores the formal and urban manifestations of a society in which architecture is capable of rewriting cultural narratives through what Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design at SFMOMA, describes as “a balanced democracy of creative individuals.” That work, acquired by SFMOMA in 2015, will be displayed in concert with several other works by Bureau Spectacular, including a comic titled When I Grow Up from 2013, and a collection of five new physical models. The models depict architectural manifestations of urban life through a collection of surreal vignettes. The busy firm also recently debuted designs for the 2,000-square-foot flagship store for clothing brand Frankie, designed a contemporary reinterpretation of Marc-Antoine Laugier’s “Primitive Hut” for the Seattle-focused travel show, Been There, Made That, and was recently shortlisted for this year’s PS1 MOMA Young Architects Program. The firm’s SFMOMA exhibition opens February 11, 2017, and will be on view until August 13th. See the exhibition website for more information.

Bureau Spectacular–designed Frankie debuts in L.A. Arts District

Los Angeles–based Bureau Spectacular recently debuted a 2,000-square-foot flagship store for Frankie, a high-end fashion house. The shop, located in L.A.’s Arts District, is a spare box with polished floors and exposed brick walls framing what the firm calls a “super furniture” piece. The exterior is covered in black and white graphics that riff on the early 20th-century structure’s industrial detailing, with framed, jack-arched windows and various downspouts and roll-up doors along the facade painted with diagonal black bands—streaks of extreme shadow.

Inside, Bureau Spectacular designed an assembly of functional volumes that can be brought together into one 28-by-10-foot staircase. The firm’s founder Jimenez Lai considers the staircase to be the latest in the firm’s “super furniture” line of works, with the constituent components of the sculptural stair containing clothing racks, dressing rooms, storage bins, and display shelves. Lai described the work as an exploration of composition and part-to-whole relationships, with the interplay between those two aspects of the design being rather literal.

Bureau Spectacular reinterprets Marc-Antoine Laugier’s Primitive Hut

Los Angeles—based Bureau Spectacular has designed an indoor treehouse that reconsiders Marc-Antoine Laugier’s 18th-century idea of the so-called “primitive hut.” The installation—dubbed Another Primitive Hut—will be featured in an upcoming episode of the Seattle-focused travel show Been There, Made That produced by Vox Creative to highlight the city for Millennial arts and culture-focused travelers. Bureau Spectacular’s installation hearkens toward Laugier’s vision of the semiotic, platonic ideal of a primitive dwelling, where a home’s structure is made up of the trunks of a grove of trees and the roof consists of the tree canopies above. But, instead of calling for a more fundamental, stripped-down view of building and shelter as Laugier did—Laugier’s Enlightenment era treatise was written at a time of intense fascination with lavish, Baroque architectural forms—Bureau Spectacular has created an idiosyncratic melange of repurposed contemporary architectural symbols. Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai, in his design for Another Primitive Hut, combines the notion of Laugier’s idealized hut with the architectural manifestations of several other canonical dwelling spaces, namely Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and the Roman Parthenon, by merging the forest canopy, the latter buildings's roof and the former structures's triangular pediment into an enclosed dwelling space lifted above the ground on piloti made from dimensional lumber. The space is meant to act as a “welcome chamber” for friends and family and call into question contemporary forms of humanity. The structure also draws inspiration from OMA’s Seattle Public Library, which a press release for Another Primitive Hut describes as “a floating stack of stories to accommodate the 21st century Human.” In the press release, the architects also ask, “What does Laugier’s old idea that architecture should be derived from nature even mean, when nature now consists of the materials and detritus of consumerism, rather than the perpendicular trunks of trees?” Lai and Bureau Spectacular were invited to The Emerald City exhibition by Visit Seattle, a Seattle-focused tourism group. For more information on Been There, Made That and Visit Seattle, see the Visit Seattle website.

Finalists announced for 2017 MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program

The five finalists for the 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP) are here. The annual competition provides a stage for some of the best up-and-coming architects in the world; the winning installation is built in the MoMA PS1's courtyard for its Warm Up music series of performances. "The Young Architects Program is committed to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, challenging each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling," according to the MoMA PS1 website.
This year's finalists are:
Recent YAP winners include Escobedo Soliz Studio (2016), Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation (2015), The Living / David Benjamin, CODA / Caroline O'Donnell, as well as MOS Architects, SO-IL, WORKac, HWKN, and SHoP.
The winner will be announced in February and the installation will be built in time for the Warm Up series that starts in June.
Finalists are nominated by prominent journalists and academics, and the selection of five is made by a panel including Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art; Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director at MoMA; Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1; Peter Reed, Senior Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs; Martino Stierli, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture & Design at MoMA, Sean Anderson, Associate Curator of Architecture at MoMA; and Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator at MoMA PS1.

First look: Bureau Spectacular designs flagship store for L.A.’s Frankie

Bureau Spectacular has designed the 2,000-square-foot flagship store for the Los Angeles–based Frankie, a high-end, ready-to-wear fashion house in L.A.’s Arts District. The retail space, which debuted Friday night with a red carpeted opening party, is the first store for the recently-rebranded label and is billed as a collaboration between Frankie's founder Kevin Chen and Bureau Spectacular's founding partner Jimenez Lai. For starters, Lai designed the store’s exterior facade, a black and white geometric abstraction spanning the post-industrial brick structure’s primary exterior wall. Bureau Spectacular also designed the store’s spartan interior, populating the space with one of the firm’s trademark "Super Furniture" pieces. The piece, when assembled into a single object, takes the shape of an eight-foot-tall staircase with a footprint of roughly 28 feet by 10 feet. This object is composed of nine geometrically complex components that are exploded across the store. Each piece houses some of the store's functional components, such as display areas for art books and trinkets, enclosed fitting rooms, storage spaces, and point of sale consoles. The project features the platonic geometries characteristic of Bureau Spectacular’s earlier work but marks a sharp shift for the designers—who are typically known for their designs' bold colors and graphic qualities—with its stark white material finish. Lai explained to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) that the monochromatic turn was a recent one for the firm, with Frankie and the recent Tower of Twelve Stories installation from this year’s Coachella music festival encompassing opposite ends of a new line of architectural inquiry. The Coachella project, with its stacked mass of tumbling geometric shapes collected over two pairs of pilotis, was also painted completely white but features an alternating array of colored lights projected onto it. With the firm’s Frankie piece, color is completely absent. Lai told AN via telephone, “In Southern California—or Los Angeles, anyway—when you paint something over with white, [the paint] deletes the materiality behind it. In both The Tower of Twelve Stories and Frankie, we are working with the idea behind ‘white.’” Lai described the contrasting geometric compositions of the pieces as embodying a tension between, “a ‘nice fit’ versus that of a ‘not very nice fit,’” with the visually dynamic Tower ascribing to the latter quality while Frankie, with its ability to explode and recombine back into a coherent form, aiming into the former. Lai summed up the project, saying, “[With Frankie], we are talking about a ‘nice fit.’”

Architects Get Graphic At The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) will be the location for the Graphic Novels / Novel Architecture Symposium on April 1st. Organized by Kent State University College of Architecture & Environmental Design (CAED), the symposium will explore the relationship between architecture and comics. The influence of animation, cartoons, comics, illustrations, and storyboards will be discussed in two sessions and a keynote discussion. Participants will include architects, illustrators, and educators. Graphic Novels / Novel Architecture will be the first event of an annual series that will explore architecture and different narrative media. The first session, starting at 1:00 pm in CMA’s Gartner Auditorium, is entitled "Hot Technology." The session will include short presentations and a discussion between California-based architect Wes Jones, London-based architect and illustrator Alison Sampson, and Archigram’s Michael Webb. The second session, entitled "Cool Diagrams," will start at 3:00 pm. This session will include presentations and a discussion between University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture Director Robert Somol, Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, and Dutch cultural anthropologist Mélanie van der Hoorn. A closing keynote discussion will feature acclaimed comic book artist Chris Ware and Françoise Mouly, art editor of The New Yorker. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are encouraged. For those not able to make it to Cleveland, the entire symposium will be live-streamed online. The proceedings will also be archived on video, and produced into a short video documentary. A book is also planned documenting the event.