Oil, Plastic and the Stuff that Surrounds Us

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Today on DnA, oil, plastic and the stuff that surrounds us. As oil spills into the gulf, we examine our dependence on products derived from petrochemicals, with Chris Lefteri, Sara Banaszak, Carla Denker and Kevin Hanley. Also, a look at an icon of the oil age: the newly renovated LAX Theme Building, with guests Scott Markle, Millard Lee and Alastair Gordon.

Just One Word: Plastics

The leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spew oil into the ocean at a predicted rate of over 200,000 gallons per day. Devastating photos of the oil reaching the Louisiana coast can be seen at the Boston Herald's The Big Picture. But besides being the fuel we pour into our cars and planes, oil is also used to make plastic, one of the most widespread materials on the planet, and, lately, one of its most reviled. The American Petroleum Institute's Sara Banaszak discusses all the ways plastics find their way into our lives, and Frances talks to Chris Lefteri, author of the book Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design about whether plastic will fall out of favor. At a party for the store Plastica, a boutique of plastic gifts and toys located in the West 3rd Street neighborhood of L.A., Frances speaks with owner Carla Denker and artist Kevin Hanley about the emotional and creative relationships we have with plastic.

A Landmark Relaunches

The LAX Theme Building at the center of LAX airport was completed in 1961 as a triumphant landmark for the Jet Age. It was designed by a dream team of architects including William Pereira and Charles Luckman, Paul Williams, Welton Becket and James Langenheim. The Theme Building will soon re-open after a three-year renovation, and Frances speaks to Los Angeles World Airports engineer Scott Markle and architect Millard Lee from Gin Wong Associates about why the building needed a facelift. Alastair Gordon, author of the book Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure explains the significance of the structure in air travel history. The Theme Building is also home to the Encounter Restaurant which will debut an outdoor observation deck which has not been opened since before 9/11. You don't need a ticket on an outbound flight to enjoy what's truly an out-of-this-world architectural experience.