Holidays 2011: Keeping it Simple After a Turbulent Year
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It’s been a tumultuous year -- protests, economic instability, and the continuing shake-up of creative industries by the online world. So who better to turn to for reassurance than a couple with conviction about life and style? We'll hear from two wise men, Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan. Plus, Marty Kaplan on the protests and the rebirth of public space; and Marissa Gluck, Alissa Walker, Haily Zaki and Erin Cullerton share de LaB’s recommendations for LA-made design.
Top image: Fox, giraffe and elephant ceramic ornaments available at Jonathan Adler
The Architecture of Protest ()
In the past couple of decades dystopian urban critics and sci-fi writers have been painting a picture of a society in which public space was becoming privatized—especially in LA—while the computer was drawing people into isolated virtual worlds. Then came rolling protests, bringing thousands into streets and public squares from Tunisia and Moscow to downtown Los Angeles. What happened? Marty Kaplan is a former political speechwriter who witnessed the political upheaval of the 1960s. Now he directs the Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, studying the impact of entertainment on society. He explains that while social networking connected people, retaking physical space was essential.
- Marty Kaplan: Director, USC's Norman Lear Center
Celebrating What Matters This Season ()
This holiday season comes at the end of a year of tumult; just the time when it’s helpful to hear from people with conviction about what really matters. Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan are two design talents—Jonathan with his accessories and home decor company and Simon as the longtime window dresser and creative director at Barneys—who also happen to be a classy couple. And they both write books full of perky advice. Jonathan’s include Happy Chic Accessorizing and My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living. Simon’s include Wacky Chicks and Gay Men Don't Get Fat. When many Americans are feeling the pinch, what's their advice for this holiday season? Keep it simple. For some ideas, visit Jonathan Adler's LA store at 8125 Melrose Avenue.
Simon Doonan argues that when it comes to style, gays are the chosen ones
Jonathan Adler's book includes tips for living happy, many of which can be found in his Manifesto for Living
Top image: Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler, photo by Jennifer Altman
Shopping Locally for LA-Made Goods ()
The design enthusiasts Marissa Gluck, Alissa Walker, Haily Zaki and Erin Cullerton together run de LaB, aka Design East of La Brea—a part-party, part-culture club that introduces Angelenos to LA contemporary design. Last week Frances caught up with them at their last event of 2011, a tour of LACMA's California Design: Living in a Modern Way 1930-1965 exhibition. Since their events have taken them all over the city for sneak peeks of products made by the region's designers, the four ladies each gave their picks for the best made-in-LA designs of the year. If you're still looking for presents this year, their selections would each make a perfect locally produced design-centric gift.
The Dustbin by Brendan Ravenhill: This ingenious trash can not only keeps a dustpan and brush at-the-ready, all of its parts were manufactured in Los Angeles by companies ranging from a 60-year-old metal stamper to a brush maker who produces parts for the Mars Rovers. $220 at BrendanRavenhill.com
California Design: Living in a Modern Way 1930-1965 designed by Michael Hodgson and Ph.D: The gorgeous catalogue for the definitive exhibition on California design includes hundreds of objects produced in the state during the midcentury modern movement. $60 at the LACMA Shop
Rodarte by Laura and Kate Mulleavy, Catherine Opie and Alec Soth: This art-fashion photo book is a collaboration between the Mulleavy sisters, renowned Pasadena fashion designers, and photographers Opie and Soth. It features the Rodarte clothes against the California landscapes which inspired them. $80 at Hennessey + Ingalls
toHOLD designed by Kara Bartelt: Part modern art, part terrarium, Bartelt's delicate pieces use succulents and airplants to create beautiful living sculptures that look right at home on a desk, a coffee table, even as a unique necklace. Starting at $8.50 at Etsy and other LA locations
Design your own present at KnowHow Shop LA: Visit this Highland Park workshop with your own gift ideas and their skilled proprietors will help you navigate their fabrication wonderland filled with laser etchers and CNC milling machines to bring your creation to life. Contact for prices
Geoff McFetridge's collection at Heath Ceramics: The Los Angeles designer and illustrator dabbles in clay for the first time with a limited-editon line of custom-painted dinnerware and accessories covered in McFetridge's signature doodles. Various prices at Heath Ceramics, 7525 Beverly Boulevard
Top image: Kara Bartelt's toHOLD piece features an airplant inside a pink sea urchin
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