The California Design Biennial includes a well thought out spectrum of designers from the practical to the extraordinary. Held this year at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the fourth running of the event (which continues through October 31) has five categories: Fashion Design, Transportation Design, Graphic Design, Product Design and, for the first time, Architecture. Bravo to each curator for making every category work together. Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio series, was curator for the Architecture category. Her selections address the social and community roles of building, like the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The large public facility, completed in 2009 by Safdie Rabines Architects, is open to hikers needing respite. Another socially oriented project is Inner City Arts by Michael Maltzan. Maltzan’s thoughtful design for this learning center near LA's Skid Row creates a village-like composition of shifting geometries. On the other side of the exhibition space is the Hollenbeck Replacement Police Station by AC Martin. The building’s staggering façade of tempered glass is a visual surprise considering its authoritative role. After leaving these projects, my eye was caught by a hanging installation of cut white paper. Bridging lace doilies and tectonics, the intricate geometric structure is a great example of art working with architecture. It was made by Fat Fringe, a collaboration of design firm Layer and organization Materials & Applications. In other categories I was immediately drawn to the extraordinary. Michel Berandi’s neogothic fashion is presented by a mannequin wearing a fitted black leather outfit, a helmet and a beehive-like mass of hair. Behind the mannequin are four equally fascinating, and fantastical, prints based on the scene in front of them. In the quiet corner nearby sits the graphic presentation of design thinker Willem Henri Lucas. Entitled, "Culture and Globalization," it combines visual technique with data percentages; cleverly merging graphic design and education.
Posts tagged with "Safdie Rabines":
On Saturday LA residents and park rangers alike celebrated the opening of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City. Located on a hill 500 feet above the city, the new 50 acre state park has probably the most complete view of Los Angeles that exists, with close to 360 degree vistas that stretch from Downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. The park's visitors center—which contains exhibitions on local ecology and history and offers event spaces and conference rooms— was designed by San Diego-based Safdie Rabines Architects. With a bare bones budget they created a curved, canopied, exposed concrete, steel, and (floor to ceiling) glass structure that hugs the site, affords incredible visibility, and seems to grow out of its undulating earthscape. They also helped shape that earth, which forms an ampitheater adjacent to the building, imbedded with unique native plants (one of them, the Coastal Sage Scrub, is being saved from extinction). Next to that area curving mounds lead one to a hidden crescendo: the unmatched panorama from the eastern end of the park. The only down side: because the Parks Department is so poor they couldn't afford solar panels or other sustainable building elements. Yes, this is still LA, isn't it?