On Today’s Show: Transformations — with Stefan Bishop, Mallery Roberts Morgan and Doug Suisman

Written by

On today’s show, we continue our ongoing coverage of LA’s independent designers, with a look at the creations of Stefan Bishop. Mallery Roberts Morgan talks to the Glassell Park-based artist–craftsman about transforming wood, and his own life, through the creation of functional and sculptural objects carved from ancient logs and inspired by dreams of skyscrapers. DnA “DJ” Mallery Roberts Morgan takes us to his studio in Glassell Park (shown in the photo by Mallery above).

In the second half of the show Edward Lifson presents his second in a series of “Iconic Wilshire Boulevard” stories, that he has created for cicLAvia as part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. Urban designer Doug Suisman delivers a meditation on the changing nature of a strip conceived for cars.

Black Fir monolith Stefan Bishop

Stefan Bishop is a former real estate developer who now works in a spacious studio in Glassell Park near Mount Washington. There he creates objects at the intersection of art and design — from tall sculptural pieces to functional items like coffee tables or shelving. But each is made in the same way, carved out of salvaged wood.

The pieces are painstakingly crafted and priced accordingly, costing in the thousands of dollars, but they lend themselves to becoming heirlooms, says interviewer Mallery Roberts Morgan, who covers the decorative arts and interior design for the Hollywood Reporter and French Architectural Digest. She adds that Stefan’s “noble and beautiful” pieces are the kind that interior designers use as a visual anchor in a design scheme. The quality is reinforced by the mighty age, scale and elemental nature of the wood they are made of, often sourced from huge fallen trees, even waterlogged wood gleaned from a sunken ship.

Stefan by end tableBumps in the Road

At this stage in his career, Stefan makes his art and craft sound easy but it turns out he met a few bumps in the road, and he tells Mallery about the personal and financial crisis that propelled him back into a youthful passion for design that he had earlier abandoned because, “when I was young design was an incredibly difficult process”

Stefan Bishop’s first line of furniture for production launches this summer; his limited edition pieces can be found at Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles. He has also made available two end-tables exclusively to KCRW members, in DnA Design Picks at KCRW’s Store.

photo of riders arriving at Windward Circle, courtesy Yo VeniceCicLAvia and Stories from Wilshire Boulevard

This weekend’s cicLAvia connected non-motorists from downtown to Venice beach by clearing one side of the road of cars; and it was the ride’s biggest ever — maybe because it offered an open ride to the beach. Seeing thousands of bikers of all ages pour into Venice – without the struggle to find parking — begged the question: couldn’t the road be opened like this every weekend, making those summer beach visits so much easier for many more people?

Anyway, now cicLAvia is gearing up for its next ride, to be on Wilshire Boulevard from downtown to Fairfax on June 23rd. And this one has an added layer: stories, about the buildings and urban design on that boulevard that took place in the time period being covered by this summer of architecture shows: Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.”

LA Boulevard: Eight X-Rays of the Body Public. He had moved to L.A. in 1983 and found the street life a little lacking. So he convened meetings about Wilshire with urban planners and later he designed the red bus logos and shelters and signage for the Metro Rapid on Wilshire. He talks about how the buildings on Wilshire were not originally designed for walkers but how the street is being reshaped by a young generation that wants to live in apartments on the strip and use public transit.