5 design things to do week of May 11-17

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The transverse section of an elementary school as imagined by Ally Schaeffer, Otis College class of 2020.

This week: Celebrate Otis College of Art and Design, class of 2020; revisit Rodeo Drive, 1984; binge TED Talks on architecture and design; Zoom talk and dance at a digital disco with LCDQ and friends; and vote for your favorite alternative design for LACMA.

Ujima Village Park - Exterior Rendering of CanopiesThe Ujima Village site in South Los Angeles, as reimagined by Roni Nisim

1) Otis College Class of 2020

Congratulations Class of 2020! For 37 years, Otis College has held an annual, public showcase to offer graduating students the chance to display some of their best work in gallery-like settings. So Otis will cap this unprecedented year by celebrating the achievements of its graduates through virtual galleries. A positive way to look at this is that the graduating designers get even greater exposure to their work. 

Departments featured include Architecture/Landscape/Interiors; Communication Arts; Digital Media; Fashion Design; both BFA and MFA Fine Arts; Product Design; Toy Design; MFA Graphic Design; and MFA Writing. Some standouts are the graduating fine art students, some of whose work is influenced by the COVID epidemic, as well as the Fashion Design class that worked with industry mentors including Black Panther's costume designer Ruth Carter. 

When: Available now

Where: Otis College Annual Exhibition 2020. You can also link to directly to graduate websites here.

Cost: Free

Anthony Hernandez,​ Rodeo Drive 1984​ ,​ #7,​ 1984, image courtesy the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran.

2) Rodeo Drive 1984

Starting in the 1970s, Anthony Hernandez and his contemporaries, who included Lewis Baltz and Terry Wild, were interested in photographing the social landscape of Los Angeles. Rodeo Drive, 1984 is a series of 41 images of shoppers on Beverly Hills’ glitzy shopping runway. The subjects appear caught unaware, glancing up as they walk, or daydreaming as they wait to be served in its commercial landscape of shops and restaurants. With this collection, published in a 2012 book by MACK, Hernandez seeks to capture the complexity of the strip later made infamous by the 1990 movie Pretty Woman. Instead, his images imply economic disparity and racial divide. 

Curator and writer Neville Wakefield (founder and artistic director of Desert X) caught up by phone with photographer Anthony Hernandez in isolation in Fairfield, a remote town in the middle of the prairie in Idaho, to talk about his revelatory Rodeo Drive 1984 photographs, what caught his eye, and his process for capturing the photographs. As Rodeo Drive emerges from closure due to Covid-19, you might enjoy this look at the fashions and hairstyles on show on the three-block retail stretch in one of its many heydays.

When: Available now

Where: Rodeo Drive website

Cost: Free

The Bahá'í Temple of South America is a celebration of "embodied light", says architect Siamak Hariri. Photo by Hariri Pontarini Architects

3) TED Talks: Ideas about Architecture

Bingeing isn't just for Tiger King! In these TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, master architects share their vision for inspired buildings. Hear from Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Elizabeth Diller, Daniel Libeskind, Moshe Safdie, Thom Mayne, Thomas Heatherwick, Bjarke Ingels and more. You can choose from themes such as Architectural Inspiration, Sustainability by Design, Legends of the Design World, The art (and science) of Craftsmanship, and many more. You can explore designing for cities that are sinking, floating, impermanent or timeless, learn about building parks in the sky and how to cool the air at the park, and consider the benefits of bringing the community into the planning and design process. Hours of fascinating design and architecture insight from around the world, only a click away. Get comfortable.

When: Available now

Where: TED Talks

Cost: Free

4) LCDQ Strong

The La Cienega Design Quarter has been the heart of the interior design profession since the 1950s, says Tamar Mashigian, Executive Director, LCDQ. Legends of California design, such as Frances Elkins, William Haines, Michael Taylor and Tony Duquette would look for antiques and original design. Like everything else, the LCDQ has evolved, but there are still many vestiges of the past, with shops and showrooms like Una Malan and Hammer and Spear retaining the courtyards, fountains and landscaping of yesteryear. 

However, the legendary interior design strip has been facing the same challenges as other retail districts, and has been similarly slammed by COVID-19. In a show of strength, the community will host its annual LEGENDS design festival online, with a Zoom screen gathering, featuring conversations and special appearances by top designers and editors. Topics include the latest design news and views, and a roundtable discussion about navigating 'the new normal'. Presenting publications include Traditional Home, Luxe Interiors, California Home + Design, House Beautiful and more.

The following day, it's time to party like it's 1979. Don your best disco duds and 'get dressed up to get down' with the LCDQ design community and digital disco party hosts Save Iconic Architecturewith special guests and DJ LABellatini. Your ticket purchase will support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

When: Thursday, May 14. NOTE: The design summit has been moved to May 21. Online events throughout the day starting at 9 am.

Digital Disco Party: Friday, May 15, 6:00 - 8:30 pm. NOTE: The disco remains on May 15.

Where: You can register for the discussions here, and for the Digital Disco Party here.

Cost: The webinar is free; the party is $20.

“Reimagining/Restructuring” by Saffet Kaya Design.

5) Save LACMA Juried Selection and Vote

Generally, it is considered poor form to design competing schemes once an architect has been commissioned for a project. However, sometimes you understand a proposed building better by comparing it with other solutions to the same program. For that reason alone, it's worth taking a look at the six finalists in a "protest competition" organized by the Citizens Brigade to Save LACMA.

The group invited architects to submit ideas for alternative solutions to the expansion designed by architect Peter Zumthor, that would remedy deficits they see in the current design. They asked for solutions that "expand gallery space rather than shrink it, and use less rather than more land, while providing a home for the collections and services needed for their care." 

Six designs now go to a people’s vote, due May 15. Entrants include the famed Austrian firm Coop Himmelblau; Reiser + Umemoto of New York City; Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles and, shown above, a scheme by London's Saffet Kaya Design, the "working with existing buildings" category. 

Saffet Kaya puts a new entrance and multistory building for collections in place of the Art of the Americas building, while maintaining two of the original structures, the (now demolished) Bing Theater and the Ahmanson Building, designed by William Pereira. Compare it with the Peter Zumthor-designed scheme, below, as viewed from the south side of Wilshire Boulevard. The Art of the Americas building is gone along with the three Pereira structures and an undulating, monolithic, one-story structure raised above a park takes their place. The Saffet Kaya solution is far more urban while Zumthor's aims to be more pastoral and fluid. The Architects Newspaper has more details about the competing schemes, here.

When: Top selections are available for viewing now. Voting opens Friday, May 15

Where: See the Leading Ideas designed from the ground up here. See the Leading Ideas using existing LACMA buildings here. Vote on your favorite in each category here. (Voting will be open until May 15th)

Cost: Free

Rendering of LACMA expansion building designed by Peter Zumthor (image courtesy Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners)