5 design things to do this week

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This week: explore the interplay between storytelling and building; uncover symbols and meanings in film and TV; admire Iranian fashion inspired by classic Persian poetry and architecture; shop for affordable art at a pop-up in an architect’s studio; and glimpse inside Paul R. Williams-designed homes.

Bureau Spectacular · The Tower of Twelve Stories, Indio, CA.  Standing 52′ high, the structure is a section model of a fictional apartment building from a graphic novel created by Lai. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Lecture: Jimenez Lai and Joanna Grant: “Is it a Conversation?”

Bureau Spectacular was founded in 2008 by Jimenez Lai and is now co-helmed by Joanna Grant. They describe their strategy as one of making “absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities.”  Fascinated by the interplay between storytelling and building, Bureau Spectacular weave architectural design and theory into comic strips that pop from the page into the real world as installations and small buildings.  Works by the Los Angeles-based firm have become part of the permanent collections of several museums, including MoMA, Art Institute of Chicago, SFMOMA and LACMA. Lai teaches at UCLA; Grant is faculty at USC. Hear them in conversation at USC this Wednesday evening.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6 -8 pm.

Where:  USC School of Architecture, Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall 101, 850 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles 90089

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Schindler’s List, 1993.  The ‘red coat’ provides a focal point throughout the entire film. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2)  Symbols and Meaning in Film and TV

In the visual arts, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar… and other times, well, let’s just say it can tell us quite a bit about a character or plot. Photographer Charles Edwards explores the artistic symbols and meanings found in film and television. The lecture will discuss iconic images in the entertainment media and show how elements, color, and composition help drive the narrative of the story line and subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) shape your experience.

When: Thursday, Feb. 8, 7-9 pm

Where: Armory Center For the Arts, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena 91103

Tickets: Free. Register for the event here.

Sketch designs for outfits inspired by Persian architecture, by LA-based design duo Jila Saberi and Ali Kourehchian. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3 ) Iranian Cultural Runway: At the intersection of Fashion, Art, Architecture and Culture

The non-profit Farhang Foundation presents an Iranian cultural runway show featuring designs inspired by classic Persian poetry and architecture. Iranian designers Jila Saberi in partnership with architect and sculptor Ali Kourehchian; and Shahla Dorriz will show off their concepts, 70 floors above the city streets in downtown’s OUE Skyspace. MC’d by Melissa Shoshahi with music by DJ Arin. Expect to see garments inspired by Iranian landmarks, such the Azadi Tower, above left.

When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 6:30 pm

Where: OUE Skyspace LA, US Bank Tower, 70th Floor, 633 W 5th St., Los Angeles 90071

Tickets: $75 – $100. More information here.

Asuka Hisa, People in Relation Ships Blue Green, 2017. Watercolor. Ink on paper, 3” x 5” (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Curatorial Hub Launch Party

Multi-media artist Bettina Hubby and Institute for Art and Olfaction founder Saskia Wilson-Brown invite you to celebrate the launch of Curatorial Hub, an online gallery devoted to the sale of varied, and affordable work to art enthusiasts who prefer to spend under $1,000. This pop-up takes place at the Silver Lake architecture office of Barbara Bestor.

When: Sunday, Feb. 11, 5-8 pm

Where: Bestor Architects, 2030 Hyperion Blvd, Los Angeles 90027

Tickets: Free. More information here.

View Park, Number 3 (2016); photographed by Janna Ireland as part of a series exploring the buildings of Paul Williams. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) There is Only One Paul R. Williams: A Portrait by Janna Ireland

It takes particular skill to make a cornice atmospheric. But that’s what photographer Janna Ireland accomplishes in her black and white photographs of details and unexpected viewpoints and angles of Los Angeles buildings designed by the late Paul R. Williams. There is Only One Paul R Williams is on show at WUHO gallery on Hollywood Boulevard and closes this Saturday. If you need any other encouragement, consider visiting as a way to kick off Black History Month. The African-American architect designed nearly 3,000 buildings, including LAX’s Theme Building, banks, churches, government buildings and privates homes for movie stars in the Southland. He was awarded a posthumous Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects last year.

For Janna Ireland, also African-American, the project is personal. She says, “One of the things I’m most interested in is the fact that Williams worked for people who wouldn’t even shake his hand, and designed homes in neighborhoods that he wouldn’t have been able to live in. If he hadn’t been willing to put up with mistreatment and dismissal, many of the amazing buildings I’ve photographed wouldn’t exist. Still, thinking about him working hard for people who weren’t capable of fully respecting him is immensely frustrating for me.” For these reasons, she adds, “I’m especially drawn to his houses. . . I read a kind of subversiveness in his work, and in the way his reputation allowed him access to certain all-white spaces. Those clients who hesitated to hire Williams are long gone, but the buildings still stand. Thinking about that always makes me smile.”

When: Up through Feb. 11. Hours are Thurs: 1-8 pm; Fri, Sat, Sun: 1-6 pm.

Where: WUHO, 6518 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90028

Tickets: Free. More information here.

And finally, you may have heard our recent interview with Catherine Opie about her offbeat art-film “The Modernist” on show at Regen Projects. This Saturday, Opie will speak about the project along with architect Michael Maltzan, designer of both the gallery and the temporary screening space, and deputy director and curator of LAXART Catherine Taft. That’s at Regen Projects, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 4 pm.