5 design things to do this week

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This week you can: learn about the architecture shaping our city today; rediscover Old Pasadena; ‘dig’ a new take on the classic album cover; see Aleppo through a young boy’s vision; conceptualize architectural thickness; and consider how images of wealth affect global desires.

St. Thomas the Apostle School K-8, Los Angeles, CA, by Griffin Enright Architects (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Building Beautifully in LA.

Architectural style is one of the key defining elements of a city.  This lecture series by A+D Museum honors and explores the themes driving some of the most innovative architects shaping Los Angeles today.  This week, Margaret Griffin, FAIA, co-founder and principal of award-winning Los Angeles-based Griffin Enright Architects and a SCI-Arc faculty member for over a decade, will share her insights on designing beautiful buildings in Los Angeles.  (Plan ahead: the third and final lecture in the series will be Thom Mayne on Thursday, Aug. 24)

When: Thursday, August 10, 8pm, doors open at 7:30pm

Where: A+D Museum, 900 E. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: $5, Free for members.  No RSVP required. More info here.

Local muralist Andrew Hem will live paint at the event. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) BoldPas: An Art Takeover


It’s bold and colorful, fun and playful, large in scale, and you’ll see it on the streets of Pasadena.  But it’s not New Year’s Day and it doesn’t have to be made of flowers (although you will see some flower-inspired art, it is Pasadena after all).  The city of Pasadena would like you to experience a new kind of art in the streets. Sponsored by Old Pasadena Management District, BoldPas is an intersection of local design, architecture, art, history, and public space, featuring selected site-specific installations in Old Town Pasadena’s unique historic setting. Visitors are invited to spend the day walking the district and encountering artistic interventions at every turn. Gather with friends, stroll the alleys and side streets, meet artists and local business owners, snap and share your photos, and connect with Pasadena’s creative community.

When: Saturday, 12 – 8 pm

Where: Throughout Old Pasadena, Pasadena, CA  91105.  Click here for event map.

Tickets: Free. Click here for more details on the featured art and events.

An avid record collector, Gabba Gallery owner Jason Ostro is curating his second show inspired by album covers.

3) Cratedigger vol. 2

Coming back into fashion with the return of vinyl, the album cover once played lead visual in the art of rock ‘n roll.  In the days before online music and smartphones, people could spend hours thumbing through these 12″ x 12″ cardboard canvases with no goal in mind other than spending time in their presence, and on occasion bringing one or two home.  Now that the music has been disembodied from its skin, the covers are claiming their rightful space as the stand-alone art that they are.  An avid record collector, Gabba Gallery owner Jason Ostro has taken it a step further and invited artists around the world to create new art inspired by album covers. Pieces must be the same size as LPs, but the artwork can be based on real or imagined covers or bands.  This is the second exhibit of its kind at Gabba Gallery, reflecting the enthusiasm of artists and viewers alike.

When: Opening night is Saturday, August 12, 7-11 pm

Where: Gabba Gallery, 3126 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Tickets: The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. More details here.

Detail of “Future Aleppo” | Photo courtesy of Mmuseumm (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Future Aleppo

War is horrific and complicated, and the resulting refugee crises get politicized — not exactly an easy opening to start a conversation with young children to help them relate to the lives of children a world away in war-torn Syria.  So leave it to a young boy from Aleppo to “speak” to the world in a way that we can all understand.  Between 2012 and 2015, while his city crumbled around him, aspiring architect Mohammed Qutaish (now 16 year old) set his sights on a better future. Using paper, wood, colored pencils, and glue, young Mohammed not only reconstructed fallen landmarks in Aleppo, like the medieval Citadel and his favorite park, but also created new structures and amenities to improve the war-torn city: gardens, rooftop pools, bridges, roads, solar panels, helicopter pads, and so on.  While much of Mohammed’s original model was destroyed when he and his family fled to Turkey, thanks to curator Alex Kalman, a 4′ x 4′ section was successfully preserved and made available to exhibit.  Through Mohammed’s creativity, we see hope instead of despair and imagination replacing devastation.

Watch Mohammed at work on his original model here.  Additionally, Mohammed’s story and his model city is the subject of a Sheffield Doc/Fest Alternate Realities commission to UK based Alex Pearson and Marshmallow Laser Feast.  The project, Future Aleppo, makes use of VR, photogrammetry and 3D modeling to guide viewers through Mohammed’s city.  You can read more about this project and see the trailer here. And you can hear an interview with Alex Kalman and Skirball curator Cate Thurston about “Future Aleppo” on this week’s episode of DnA.

When: Ongoing through August 18

Where:  Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Tickets: Free with admission.

Jackie Siegel and her friends wear their Versace purses to a private opening of the Versace Store in Beverly Hills, California. Jackie would spend up to $50,000 on a single shopping spree and up to a million dollars a year on clothes before the financial crisis curbed her spending habits. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5 ) Catch it before it’s gone – closing this weekend

Maxi Spina: Thick” at SCI-Arc Gallery

The exhibition Maxi Spina: Thick at SCI-Arc Gallery explores the problems of material thickness, “a conceptual and material problem that sits (literally) at the edge of architectural thinking,” in the digital software period when, say the organizers, “thickness is infinitely thin. Its default property is a single line or algorithmic curve. Its ‘thickness’ must be added.”

Maxi Spina was born in Argentina and is the co-founder of Spinagu (with Jia Gu, also head of Materials & Applications) and currently Design Faculty and Applied Studies Faculty at SCI-Arc. His show explores the topic through “sections, ruins, fragments, constructions, figurations, simultaneity, and representation.”

Where: SCI-Arc Gallery, 960 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: Free. Closes Saturday, Aug. 12.

“Generation Wealth” at Annenberg Space for Photography

The internet has connected our globe like never before.  From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and most places in between), massive amounts of information and images can fly across the ether and pop up on a screen, across thousands of miles, and as many cultures.  While the internet has ushered in a new era of access to knowledge and individual expression, it has also brought us the selfie celebrity and wealthy housewives showing us how they like to spend their money.

In Generation Wealth, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield examines the globalization of materialism and celebrity culture. The lifestyles of the rich and famous have never been more in our face(book), everyday and everywhere, creating desires for things we never knew we needed, but are no more able to afford.  The result is a pervasive desire for MORE and the feeling that we can never have enough.  This exhibit is a revelatory cultural exploration that presents 195 color-saturated prints, 42 riveting first-person interviews and the accompanying multimedia projections and short films.

Where: Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.  Parking in the building (enter on Constellation) is only $3.50 with validation.

Tickets: Free. Closes Sunday, Aug. 13.