5 design things to do week of Nov 2 - 8

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This fairy garden by Takako Tajima is a home for fairies, and inspiration for human-scale gardens. Image courtesy Takako Tajima.

This week: Talk a virtual walk through fairy gardens by Takako Tajima; read poetry on ACE Hotel's marquee; see housing solutions by the next generation of designers at AIA/LA's 2 x 8 DOMUM; meet the ghosts of Bunker Hill at a book launch for author Nathan Marsak, with Frances Anderton; see Mary Weatherford's 'The Japan Drawings' at David Kordansky gallery.

Poem by artist David Horvitz on view to passersby on the marquee of ACE Hotel on Broadway in DTLA.

1) Modern haiku on display at the Ace Hotel

Live venues are amongst the businesses hardest hit by pandemic safety closures, DTLA’s Ace Hotel latest programming puts the spotlight squarely on the exterior sign. They've invited twelve poets, songwriters, essayists and visual artists to each take over the 1929 United Artists Theatre building’s marquee with a haiku, a 17-syllable poem originating in Japan. The artists were asked to create a poem “that expresses their thoughts and ideas on our tumultuous times.”

The project - up through December 9 - has already exhibited poetry by David Horvitz, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Sophia Le Fraga, Lawrence Weiner. Coming up: Harry Gamboa Jr., Kim Gordon, Charles Gaines, Carlos Lara and Joyelle McSweeney. 

You can catch a socially distanced drink while you look, at Best Girl, the hotel's downstairs restaurant that now has outdoor seating underneath the historic marquee.

When: Thru Dec 9

Where: Ace Hotel, 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles 90015

Tickets: Free

Takako Tajima has designed fairy-scale gardens in planters in her back yard. Image courtesy Takako Tajima.

2) Garden design at a fairy scale

Under lockdown, with children to entertain, Takako Tajima created a series of fairy gardens at her home in Huntington Beach. Now you can visit them at a virtual exhibition hosted by USC Architecture school. Tajima is an architect of both buildings and landscapes. Fairy gardens, Tajima explains, are generally "comprised of live plant material and fairy garden accessories -- figurines, tiny houses, gates, fences, furniture.  Like fairies, the fairy scale is strange and magical. The garden is created at a 1:1 fairy scale. However, they are also to be enjoyed as a scaled model for imagining new landscapes and architecture for human beings." Dwelling size has long intrigued Tajima. She was a guest on this DnA, taking about micro-apartments.

When: Through November 8

Where: Online at USC Architecture Virtual Exhibition.

Tickets: Free

Bunker Hill residents used to take Angels Flight back and forth to Hill Street. Image courtesy Angel City Press.

3) Frances Anderton talks to Nathan Marsak, author of Bunker Hill Los Angeles

Bunker Hill, now capped with office towers and cultural institutions like The Broad and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, was once home to wealthy Angelenos living in LA’s “first suburb,.” Then it fell on poorer times and fell victim to the urban renewal zeal of the postwar years. In his just-released book Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir (Angel City Press, 2020), historian Nathan Marsak tells the story of the Hill, from the district’s inception in the mid-19th century to its present day, taking in its panoply of architectural styles and equally characterful residents. 

With more than 250 photographs, Bunker Hill Los Angeles analyzes the buildings that once crowned the Hill: from the Victorian shingle and spindlework, to Mission to Modern, to Isozaki, Gehry, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  

See and hear Marsak in conversation with Frances Anderton, who also explored development on Grand Avenue with Grand Illusion: A Story of Ambition, and its Limits, on LA’s Bunker Hill (USC, 2011), based on a studio she taught with Frank Gehry and partners at USC School of Architecture.

When: Saturday, Nov 7, 3 - 4 pm

Where: Hennessy + Ingalls, 300 S Santa Fe Ave M, Los Angeles 90013.  You can register for the event here.

Tickets: Free

Mary Weatherford, In the cedar forest, 2019, shellac ink on Gampi Torinoko paper.

4) Mary Weatherford: The Japan Drawings

David Kordansky Gallery welcomes Los Angeles based artist Mary Weatherford to their new exhibtion space, designed by the multidisciplinary architecture and design practice wHY. The exhibition, 'The Japan Drawings' brings together four groups of works - all shellac ink paintings on Gampi Torinoko paper - that Weatherford produced during a 2019 residency at Troedsson Villa in Nikko, Japan. The residency, founded by artist Anne Eastman in 2015, offers immersion in a setting of ancient and modern architecture (including shrines and temples) within a forest landscape. Weatherford’s new drawings reflect this environment in a range of compositional approaches, color palettes, and textures. Read more about the artist and the exhibition here.

When: Opens Nov 7; exhibition runs through Dec 17. By appointment only.

Where: David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W Edgewood Pl, Los Angeles 90019

Tickets: Free, but reservations required. You can make an appointment by calling 323.935.3030.

5) Next Gen Designers: '2x8 DOMUM' Student Exhibition Opening Reception

Housing is the theme of this year's 2x8 Student exhibition, competition and scholarship program hosted by AIA/LA. See the results by wandering through a digital matrix of galleries at 2x8: Domum. 

The 2×8 annual exhibition showcases exemplary student work from 16 architecture and design schools throughout California. This year’s theme reflects on the dialogue surrounding housing in Los Angeles and other urban centers across the country. Students were encouraged to submit presentation materials and 3d models that respond to the theme with innovative solutions. 

Join related panel discussions on the Right to Housing on November 12 and Systemic Racism on November 19.

When: Thursday, Nov 5, 6 - 7 pm

Where: Online

Tickets: Free. You can register here.