Transformations, in Wood; On Wilshire Boulevard
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It took a crisis to propel Stefan Bishop back to his early passion: carving art and functional pieces out of ancient logs. Mallery Roberts Morgan talks to Bishop about transforming wood, and his own life, while drawing inspiration from dreams and keeping a young business afloat. And Doug Suisman meditates on Wilshire Boulevard, as it goes through a transformation from a street shaped by cars to one being remade by the crowd.
Banner image: Entrance to Stefan Bishop's design and woodworking studio in Glassell Park. Photo by Mallery Roberts Morgan
Transformations in Wood ()
Stefan Bishop is a real estate developer turned designer-maker who works in a spacious studio in Glassell Park near Mount Washington. There he creates objects at the intersection of art and design, from tall sculptural pieces to functional items like coffee tables or shelving. But each is made in the same way, carved out of salvaged wood. He talks about a series of sculpted towers that he calls Monoliths.
Mallery Roberts Morgan covers the decorative arts and interior design for the Hollywood Reporter and French Architectural Digest, and DnA. She says that Bishop’s "noble and beautiful" pieces are the kind that interior designers use as a visual anchor in a design scheme. His work is painstakingly crafted and priced accordingly, costing thousands of dollars, but the pieces lend themselves to becoming heirlooms – that quality is reinforced by the mighty age, scale and elemental nature of the wood they are made of, as Mallery found out when examining a soaring 11 foot "Monolith."
Black fir monolith
Photo Stefan Bishop
Monolith on its side in Bishop's studio
Photo courtesy Mallery Roberts Morgan
Morgan talks with Bishop about his art and functional pieces carved from solid pieces of wood. Although his path to Glassell Park sounds smooth, there were some bumps along the way. Bishop's first line of furniture for production launches this summer; his limited edition can be found at Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles. He has also made available two end-tables exclusively to KCRW members, in DnA Design Picks at KCRW's Store.
CicLAvia and Stories from Wilshire Boulevard ()
This weekend's CicLAvia connected non-motorists from downtown to Venice beach by clearing one side of the road of cars; and it was the ride's biggest ever, maybe because it offered an open ride to the beach. Seeing thousands of bikers of all ages pour into Venice – without the struggle to find parking -- begged the question: couldn't the road be opened like this every weekend, making those summer beach visits so much easier for many more people? CicLAvia is gearing up for its next ride, to be on Wilshire Boulevard from downtown to Fairfax in late June. And this one has an added layer: stories, about the buildings and urban design on that boulevard that took place in the time period being covered by this summer of architecture shows: Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.
Riders arriving at Windward Circle
Photo courtesy Yo! Venice!
Twenty-five years ago urban designer Doug Suisman wrote a pamphlet called "LA Boulevard: Eight X-Rays of the Body Public." He had moved to LA in 1983 and found the street life a little lacking. So he convened meetings about Wilshire, with urban planners and later designed the red bus logos, shelters and signage for the Metro Rapid on Wilshire. He says the buildings on Wilshire were not designed for walkers but were conceived to appeal to drivers. However, a new generation of Angelenos is changing the way the street is viewed and used.
(The segment about Wilshire Boulevard was produced by Edward Lifson for CicLAvia, part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA. Original music is by Steve Wight. Other music by Al Bowlly. The June 23 CicLAvia opens Wilshire Boulevard from downtown to Fairfax Avenue. Listen to more Wilshire Boulevard stories, on DnA.)
- Doug Suisman: urban designer
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