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A downtown tower rips out the curtain wall 12 MIN, 9 SEC

The loggia of the Workplace Innovation Lab, with the curtain wall removed. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

"How do you turn an aging building and make it relevant to the employer who's looking to attract and retain employees?" That's the question posed by Bunker Hill developer Tom Ricci -- and answered with the “Workplace Innovation Lab,” the sixth floor of a downtown highrise that has been opened up to outside air and and noise, and filled with artificial scents and sounds of running water.

444 South Flower on Bunker Hill, also known as Citigroup Center, is almost 40 years old and the curtain-walled, climate-controlled, hermetically sealed, International Style structure is typical of corporate buildings of the early 1980s.

The removal of the curtain wall from the sixth floor of Citigroup Center makes for a striking visual. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

But young companies don’t want to work in this kind of space anymore.

And there are thousands of these buildings in downtown LA and other cities. So Ricci teamed up with Gensler and interior office designers Haworth to create a test-environment that would offer closer connection with nature, as well as an open working area that is comfortable on the ears.

The open air loggia allows tenants to hold meetings and enjoy fresh air, albeit with some construction noise. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

So they “hacked” the 6th floor in ways both big and small. The big hack was to cut into the curtain wall on one corner, creating a loggia that fills the entire floor with natural air, and the noise of construction on the downtown regional connector.

The smaller hacks included pumping in artificial nature -- the sound of running water from a firm called Plantronics, and the scent of sea breeze from Air Aroma.

DnA tours the space, asks why it needs both real and artificial nature, and considers whether ripping out the curtain walls of offices towers is going to be the next wave in workplace design.

Tom Ricci, Executive Vice President of Thomas Properties Group
Ann Gray, FORM Magazine
Deryl K. Deese, Director, Capital Markets, Tauro Capital Advisors, Inc.

5 Design Trends That Will Make Your Office More Productive--and Look Amazing
9 vital workplace design developments for 2018
2018 Workplace Trend Predictions

Otis College of Art and Design celebrates 100 15 MIN, 18 SEC

Otis College of Art and Design was founded in 1918, but it’s been renamed and rebranded several times.

Otis College of Art and Design turns 100 and hosts a big public celebration this weekend. It's on Veteran's Day weekend because the school has long welcomed vets (with help from the GI Bill).

Otis students, circa 1930, cleaning their classroom under the direction of John Hubbard Rich (left) and Emily Steele.

100 years ago the conservative LA Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis left a house to the County of Los Angeles if they would turn it into an art school.

Now the school is celebrating its centennial with a big public party this Veterans Day weekend.

DnA explores moments in the school’s history, which track with LA’s growth as an art and design capital -- from its founding on Wilshire Boulevard  through its transition from what artist Billy Al Bengston calls its "constipated" years in the 1950s.

Alum Garth Trinidad (yes, that’s KCRW’s own DJ Garth Trinidad) recalls the struggles in the 1990s and remarks on its blossoming in Westchester today.

Edie Beaucage talks about being part of the new generation that has revived painting.

Edie Beaucage represented by Luis De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Edie Beaucage.

But why is the celebration taking place on Veterans Day Weekend? Vets have long been part of the school’s “ethos” says school president Bruce Ferguson.

Air Force veteran and muralist Darel Carey talks about making the transition from the military to art at Otis, as he paints an Op-Art mural for the school.

Air Force veteran, muralist and Otis alumni Darel Carey tells DnA, “I've never felt when I was in the military like I was part of the establishment... And it's not like I exactly fit in in art school either.” Photo by Frances Anderton.

Kevin Roderick, LA Observed (@laobserved)
Garth Trinidad, Host of 'Garth Trinidad' (@garthtrinidad)
Bruce Ferguson, president of Otis College of Art and Design
Darel Carey, visual artist
Billy Al Bengston, artist and sculptor
Edie Beaucage, painter

Otis College’s Find Your 100 Centennial Campaign
Daily News: Otis College: Art is their history
The Otis Story of Otis Art Institute since 1918 (book from 1975)


Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles. Portfolio and Catalog, 1979-1980.

Frances Anderton

Frances Anderton
Avishay Artsy

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