5 design things to do July 13 - 19

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This week: Talk about mobility in the age of staying in place; celebrate the life of FoLAR founder Lewis MacAdams; take a hike in LA County; couch surf design shows; learn about natural fabric dyeing from the ancients.

Image courtesy of Los Angeles Metro

1) AIA Los Angeles:  Designing the Future Part IV: Transit & Mobility/CoMotion takes on Uber

Los Angeles was on the brink of becoming a city well connected by public transportation. Then coronavirus hopped the light rail and changed things. While many of us are working and staying close to home, others must still get to work, access medical services, care for elderly family or go and enjoyed socially distanced outdoor activities. So how do you get around the city without getting or spreading the virus? Find out on a webinar Thursday hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Los Angeles. Moderated by R. Steven Lewis, participants include BMW's Neil Brooker; LA Metro's EO for Equity and Race KeAndra Cylear Dodds; Toole Design's Director of Equity Tamika Butler; and Nicholas de Monchaux, incoming Head of Architecture at MIT. This is the fourth in a seven-part series for architects and designers who want to support the adaptations necessary to living, working, and staying healthy in our built environment. Next up is a July 30 webinar on Parks and Open Space.

Also on the transit topic. CoMotion, a conference and online community devoted to new mobility, will host a Webinar Wednesday, July 15, on Uber and its future in California. Its line-up includes UCLA's always interesting Michael Manville and Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank.

When: Thursday, July 16, 8:00 - 9:30 am. 

Where: Online. Access information provided with ticket purchase.

Cost: $20. You can purchase tickets here.

Lewis MacAdams (right) at the Marsh Park Phase Two opening ceremony. Photo courtesy Wikimedia

2) Memorial Celebration for Lewis MacAdams, FoLAR Founder/Submissions deadline for Lewis MacAdams Prize

When Lewis MacAdams (1944-2020) and friends saw the Los Angeles River for the first time, he "asked the river if we could speak for it in the human realm," and it said yes, he once told DnA. The poet went on to found Friends of the Los Angeles River(FoLAR) and attracted thousands to his mission of restoring the concrete flood channel to its more natural state.

MacAdams died April 21, 2020. This Thursday FoLAR and KCET will co-present an online celebration of his life and achievements. You'll hear pre-recorded tributes to Lewis from prominent leaders of the River Movement and a screening of A Concrete River: Reviving the Waters of Los Angeles. Speakers include: Mayor Eric Garcetti; ED of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Joe Edmiston (shown in photo above); FoLAR Board Chair M-K O'Connell, artist Elkpen, environmentalist and author Jenny Price, journalist Patt Morrison, landscape architect Mia Lehrer, and many more!

Also: Submissions for the Lewis MacAdams Prize are due Monday, July 20. Artists, designers and creators at all career stages are invited to submit blue sky project ideas that imagine the LA River as a public arts destination. Fnd more information here.

When: Memorial Celebration, Thursday, July 16, 6- 7 pm.

Where: Online. You can register here for streaming information.

Cost: Free. Click here for more information.

Temescal Trail in Pacific Palisades. Photo credit: Louise Browne

3) Find open space on one of LA County's hiking trails 

As of Monday, many indoor activities have been shut down, due to the explosion in cases of Covid-19. So far outdoor activities like hiking are still permitted. So grab this opportunity and go enjoy nearly sixty trails maintained by Los Angeles County. Take your pick from climbs or strolls through environments ranging from chaparral to ocean views and woods to waterfalls. The county has a helpful website for finding trails based on location, duration and difficulty, as well as whether the trails allow dogs, bicycles or are wheel chair accessible. Some trails can get crowded so make sure to have face covering available, and sunscreen. As for what hikes teach us about design, consider a quote from the gifted interior designer Paul Fortune who passed on June 15. When asked what advice he’d give the next generation, he once said: “Treasure the natural world. It’s incredible and nothing—I repeat, nothing—comes close.” 

When: Sunrise to Sunset.

Where: Various locations.

Cost: Free. Plan your next hike here. Get Covid-19 updates, here.

Apple TV's new series Home looks at extraordinary homes. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+.

4) AD's 36 design shows to watch

Architectural Digest magazine's daily newsletter invariably features great listicles. Recent faves: 12 Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Buildings, 14 Cozy Balcony Ideas and Decor Inspiration, 12 Most Beautifully Designed Public Fountains. Or consider their recent summary of 36 of the best TV design shows to watch, when not enjoying the wonders of nature (see item #3). This is a round-up of "the most bingeable design-centric series on streaming services and cable now" that might offer a respite and delight in human ingenuity. Shows range from Apple TV+'s new Home to the oldie but goodie, Trading Places.

When: At your leisure.

Where: Online and on TV.

Cost: Price of a download. Read the list, here.

Onion skin, avocado skin and pits, and sage sit on a wooden board on grassOnion skin, avocado skin and pits, and sage can all be used to dye fabrics. Photo credit getty.edu.

5) Learn from the ancients about experimenting with natural dyes 

While some forms of dye production require complex color extraction and preparation, there are many natural foods and herbs you might have in your home right now that can attach their color to fibers quite simply. Think pomegranates, onion skins, herbs, avocado pits and skins, beets, spinach, blueberries and coffee grounds. According to Maria Svoboda, a conservator of ancient art at the Getty, these foodstuffs will add color to your t-shirts, cloths and towels, and make a fun -- if messy -- project for kids trapped at home right now. Svoboda offers lessons in natural dyeing in this Getty article. You can also learn more about natural dying here. DnA's Frances Anderton learned from artist Mimi Haddon how to dye white cottons and linens with indigo (shown top of page) and can attest to thrill of seeing the color emerge in the sun. 

When: Anytime.

Where: At home.

Cost: Free (plus any materials cost). Read about natural dyeing, here.