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Universal design

As much as I am seen in the fashion world, either living it or hanging out with fashion people, I try to be present and loyal as a designer as well.

Photos by Edward Aninaru

Of course I want to be a hundred different things, but the older I get, the more I realize I cannot be them all. Still, what moves me forward and inspires me to pursue various projects (and prevents me from getting bored!) is a number of people with whom I work and surround myself, and who always spark in me new insights and creative paths.

It has been an absolutely amazing, LONG summer and I thought it would be fun to give you a little peek into what I have been working on lately.

Henderson Represents, Inc. (HRI Talent) is a very busy commercial and theatrical agency with whom I’ve been working as talent for the last 9 years. Their office is in Universal Studio's famous Bungalows Row. Previous tenants include Steven Spielberg (production office during the shooting of “Schindler's List”) and Mark Morgan (office for the production of Twilight Zone).

The energy of the place is refreshed daily by tourists from all over the world taking the Universal City Tour Tram, circling the famous Studio’s Backlot (known for its legendary Hollywood sets – from the Old West Street to the modern day city blocks from New York, Berlin, London and Paris). 

 The people of HRI Talent are truly dear to me, so when the opportunity came for me to redesign their office, it was a dream-come-true, pinch-myself kind of job. What makes this project so special to me are the four amazing and meritorious ladies who run HRI – my agents Michelle Henderson, Lisa Ryder, Tania Kleckner and Denni Romo.  Over the years, we have grown together, believed in each other’s vision, became friends, compared and learned from each other’s lives – and most of all we’ve worked hard. The jobs HRI Talent has brought me allowed me to travel the world, and in the process, to discover myself and grow as an artist.

Without further ado, allow me to share with you their new office space!

                                                     HRI Talent offices at the Universal Studios Backlot-Photo by Edward Aninaru

                                                     HRI Talent offices at the Universal Studios Backlot-Photo by Edward Aninaru

Over a year ago, I approached Michelle Henderson, the founder of the company, to talk about a makeover proposal of their constantly growing company’s headquarters. She was a little hesitant at first, but ultimately she gave in. I was so happy she allowed me to do my thing. I had ideas and plans almost immediately!

After a few presentations, the DESIGN was APPROVED! It is finally time for the BIG reveal - The office redesign project is complete and I could not be happier with the experience, the support and the outcome!

Photo by Edward Aninaru

Since most of the time space is premium and money an object, I always try to do more with less. And we did just that.

It turned out to be an inspiring, whimsical and happy office that I hope will inspire happiness to everyone working there. This is the fun part, where a room starts off and how much it changes: THE BEFORE AND AFTER….

This is what has been happening behind the scenes at HRI Talent .

A little rough, I know – and in need of some TLC – but I was up for the challenge! 

Some things HAD TO GO, but simply rearranging some of the existing pieces helped tremendously.

Pattern on the wall covering helped the low ceiling space. 

A mirror with geometric shapes – like a kaleidoscope – reflects a medley of forms and textures.

Low maintanance new carpet
New seating creates a new conversation spot for meetings and gatherings

I wanted to create a space which did not scream “office” – something cozy, intimate, home-y.

Space enlivened by a poetic Roy Lishtenstein print

Space enlivened by a poetic Roy Lishtenstein print

We tried to work on weekends only, yet for a few weekdays they still had to work while putting up with our mess.  The office might have been only partly comfortable – yet it was always fully functioning!

Photo by Edward Aninaru

There are 4 small offices designated to few different divissions: Youth, Thetrical, Union Commercials and Non-Union Commercials. I tried with each space to reflect the personal taste of the agent.

On the wall hanging the world reknowed Blue Dog by George Rodriguez , Photo by Edward Aninaru

On the wall hanging the world reknowed Blue Dog by George Rodriguez , Photo by Edward Aninaru

Black Chalk painted walls in each room keep track for the agents with the clients and actors’ holdings and booking schedules –besides the function and comfort, the office needed room for creativity and thought stimulation.

As an agency tradition,the sound of the gong above is heard every time an actor books a job :). 

I wanted to create a space- as an office-free type of environment, more like a home.

 

This one has been a labor of love and has taken its sweet, long time to come to fruition.

Photos by Edward Aninaru

See you very soon...

 

 

 

 

Imaginary conversation with Moby

I'm back after a long hiatus due to my being a brand new Mom!

Since I still haven’t figured out an alternative to being devoted to my son, I had to live with the status quo of my blog – until now.

Max’s entry in my life shifted all my priorities. His need for love and protection has awakened my innermost instincts. But I gradually became aware that I also owe you – my readers – a new entry in my blog.

So if you’ll excuse my snail-like speed, I’d like to offer you my third story.

I couldn’t leap too far from my favorite topic - Los Angeles.

                                              Photo by Vladimir Neri, wearing Eva Culture

                                              Photo by Vladimir Neri, wearing Eva Culture

What makes this entry special is what triggered it: I came across Moby’s blog (http://mobylosangelesarchitecture.com), a while ago, and I immediately I wanted to have an imaginary conversation with him.

So listen up, Moby :).

As many of us know, you are an architecture aficionado and a huge fan of Los Angeles.

You’re a transplant from New York, and by now a rather assimilated denizen of our city. You’re a knowledgeable lover of architecture and I can only guess that in Los Angeles you found a new life-rhythm that fed your creative muse - since the LA experience fundamentally opposes the New York lifestyle.

                                                                     Photo by Sunny Khalsa

                                                                     Photo by Sunny Khalsa

 

In your blog you talk in detail about the evolution that New York City has undergone from the 80’s until now, discussing the changes in what New Yorkers practiced and preached over time, as well.  Cities can change… and so can their residents.

It’s borderline cliché easy to love a universal archetype city like Paris - a metropolis infused with such timeless architecture and beauty. It inspires romance at every turn, and brings out any dormant passion you might have lurking in your heart.

By contrast, loving New York or Los Angeles for the long haul – long past the immediate falling in love with a new city vibe – requires both conscious choice and commitment.

The universal mind agrees that to love Los Angeles takes patience and tolerance.  I think that’s what has been asked of me, and I would fully advise opening your heart to those qualities, to whoever considers living here… You, Moby, did just that.

On the rooftop at Sixty Beverly Hills 

On the rooftop at Sixty Beverly Hills 

Angelinos are very happy to assimilate new comers. I think you would agree that ambitious people living in big, densely populated cities with diverse cultural dynamics and high expectations are very often tested, broken, or sorely tempted to flee “Gotham“, sizing down and cocooning in a more welcoming, smaller place with slower living.

NY is a city that has defeated many. You don’t see it that way, and neither do I.  Like you, I live in LA because I’m looking for occasional epiphanies within its serial monotony.

New York and me - photo by Alex Rotaru

New York and me - photo by Alex Rotaru

What struck me while reading your blog was that we both love houses, we love looking for houses, talking about houses and we are dreaming about owning houses we see for sale.

I know you just purchased a dream place in our hood. Congratulations!!! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/garden/28moby.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Many artists were fascinated with Los Angeles and made it their mirror and canvas, before it was fashionable to do so…  Some were realistic and raw,  while others went beyond – into a dreamlike imagination.

We honor and are proud of having such artists living and creating in the city we love. Ed Ruscha and John Humble are two of my favorites: they romanced and were seduced by Los Angeles at a time where its great expanses were still undeveloped and the definition of bad traffic was more than five Model T’s on the road at the same time :)

 

                                                           Beverly Hills traffic jam -Wilshire and Santa Monica  1920's

                                                           Beverly Hills traffic jam -Wilshire and Santa Monica  1920's

 

                         The Los Angeles River-by John Humble


 

                       The Los Angeles River-by John Humble

John Humble’s unique talent is the blending of commercial and residential neighborhoods, the intertwined highways and nondescript neighborhoods in a  seamless way.

Here are some glimpses of  Los Angeles by John Humble and Ed Ruscha, two artists that portrayed both its beauty and ugliness, at the time, the world maybe didn`t see them before.

                                            Ed Ruscha photographed by Denny Hopper

                                            Ed Ruscha photographed by Denny Hopper

Left: Atlantic Blvd, 1965, by Ed Ruscha, gelatin silver print; Right: 6565 Fountain Avenue, 1965, gelatin silver print-both at the J.Paul Getty Museum

 Ruscha's exploration of the incidences of the mundane ( parking lot)-Photo By Ed Ruscha

 Ruscha's exploration of the incidences of the mundane ( parking lot)-Photo By Ed Ruscha

                                                                                 Lugo Park Avenue at Fernwood, Lynwood, April 20, 1993-photo by John Humble

                                                                                 Lugo Park Avenue at Fernwood, Lynwood, April 20, 1993-photo by John Humble

Construction I105 1993, photo by John Humble

Construction I105 1993, photo by John Humble

Los Angeles is its own place, it`s commonly known to unfold the red carpet for the movies, while New York has the reputation for unfolding its carpet for world class art.  Its legendary museums are still front runners, Broadway- still the Temple of Musicals

Although Los Angeles has been diversifying in art galleries and temporary exhibits, concerts, musical events and various spectacles, one aspect I complain about is- the lack of more libraries and neighborhod coffee shops where you can get lost for the afternoon, chewing on some good reading.

Actually, there is one place everyone should check out: It`s called - The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA. 

 

I wonder Moby, if there some coffee shops that you would suggest?

A widespread city creates a giant network, a mingling place for unique, driven souls, making it quite hard to find one’s identity when one first gets off the bus at Union Station J.  As opposed to New York’s overbearing, madhouse daily grind one must accept to survive there, LA’s own brand of multicultural blend of identities enables a choice of a myriad paces of life one can adopt.

For the casual visitor, the lack of a singularly defined city center raises a subtle fear that living without a "nucleus” could make it hard to identify themselves. 

                                 Photo by Vladimir Neri 

                                 Photo by Vladimir Neri 

In by-gone times, it was said that Los Angeles was the place where intellectuals went to ruin themselves. 

Me? I’m grateful to be here every day…  I, too, find hidden layers and new social interactions among the admixture of cultures, the maze of transit lanes, and the magnificently crisscrossed highways….

                                                                                                Photo by Gabriela Oltean

                                                                                                Photo by Gabriela Oltean

Photo by Gabriela Oltean

Los Angeles- “that bright, guilty place”, as Orson Welles called it….

Just like you, after traveling far and wide in the world, I discovered the art of living in Los Angeles.

 

The Golden Rule - "There's no place like home…"

‪#‎TheGoldenRule‬ - a sighting of the elusive Yves Saint Laurent‪#‎GoldModAnkleBoots‬ in the wild… in this case at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

iPhone cinematography by me, music by Ophex, editing fun by my convenient half, Alex Rotaru.

This reminded me of Dorothy's ‪#‎RubyRedSlippers‬ in ‪#‎TheWizardOfOz‬, the movie that reached many generations all over the world with this most important message :

IN OUR PURSUIT OF WHAT WE NEED, WE WILL FIND THAT WE ALREADY HAVE IT! (A tale of self-sufficiency, just like #PauloCoelho recounts in #TheAlchemist, as well… among many others.)

Although the slippers were silver in the book, Hollywood changed them to red to take advantage of Technicolor's capabilities - a wonderful Special Effect for that time.

                                       THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

red slippers.jpg









 

THE ALCHEMY OF STYLE: STARCHITECTURE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS

 

Welcome to my blog, weary internet traveler,

 

Getty Center

Getty Center

It’s been my desire for a long time to start a dialog with art and design lovers, on a platform more personal than generic social media - a vision board where we can pin ideas of beauty, practicality and good design; I finally did it!

I want this blog to showcase my passion for life lived stylish and fun, and I’d like to share with you what moves and inspires me.

There is no better subject to start with than my love for my adopted city, Los Angeles. L.A. is an enigma in its diversity, and I’d like to put the accent on its architecture, which I believe gets less credit than it’s due. 

For good reason, the majority of the world thinks of L.A. as the land of possibilities; some due to the prospect of global fame while beaming on a movie poster, others due to the promise of freedom to experiment life in a wide variety of ways and - as a result - to be inspired and excite the imagination of people all around the planet through innovation in the arts or technology.

However, what fascinates me in comparison to the majority of the American cities that honor tradition and history is how the “architecture-scape” of Los Angeles doesn’t seem to be regulated by strict boundaries. Many apparent contradictions seem somehow appropriate and at home here. Maybe because Los Angeles has a relative short history, lacking the urban excitements of European cities…? Or maybe it’s something else, something far more mysterious and exciting.  

The bombing of Los Angeles Times Building 
 Los Angeles Building

 Los Angeles Building

As a student of this city, on my own time as well of during my years of history studies at UCLA under the guidance and talent of the magnificent Eleanor Schapa, I always felt the fascination of a different kind of freedom that exists right here in California: the freedom to build. 

 Once you start unraveling its secrets, this city is a true Zona Franca of architecture, a place where dreams can not just come true, but be built above land.  Xanadu!

 I love architecture, so I always look at houses as I drive, dreaming about owning someday just the perfect one; a place of life enchanted, where I can take refuge after escaping our notorious traffic.

 Architects in Los Angeles have succeeded in capturing our imagination and fulfilling their dreams by pursuing ideas of expressive, intimate and sensual design, human and vibrant - whether their buildings are classical, Art Deco, streamlined, Mid-Century, contemporary, renovation projects, green and sustainable… or just plain quirky!

 

Frank Gehry’s Binoculars Building in Venice Beach

Frank Gehry’s Binoculars Building in Venice Beach

From early on, Los Angeles was a perfect setting for architects to express themselves in singular harmony their international sense of style.

 From a bungalow or hacienda in Hollywood filled with Bohemian, eclectic taste - colorful tiles and painted, exposed wood beams - to the elegant ranch surrounded by acres of land or the vine-covered hillside mega-mansion with arresting views of Bel-Air, Malibu or Beverly Hills, filled with art and antiques that make you feel not only in a different country but also in a different century, to the stark and skeletal Mid-Century homes, where indoor-outdoor living is at its best - the city has to offer many unmatched, unexpected sites in the geography of style and taste.

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Lovell House, by Richard Neutra

Lovell House, by Richard Neutra

Oscar Niemeyer designed this international style office building in 1967

Oscar Niemeyer designed this international style office building in 1967

Rudolf Schindler‘s Kings Road House, the precedent for California Modernist Architecture

Rudolf Schindler‘s Kings Road House, the precedent for California Modernist Architecture

Schindler strived for reinvention and use of new materials and there was always a consistency in his principles of design and spatial characteristics

 Schindler collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright, being sent by him from the Chicago studio to oversee the building of the Hollyhock House. Ever since then, in 1920, he decided to stay and built his own practice.

 

 

  Frank Lloyds Wright's Hollyhock house, Barnsdall Park

 

Frank Lloyds Wright's Hollyhock house, Barnsdall Park

 Ennis House is one of my favorite landmarks in Los Angeles. It is one of Lloyd’s last “textile block” houses, a Mayan Revival style and it known for housing many film productions including 1982’s ‘Blade Runner’. According to Discover Hollywood.com, the home is 6,000 square feet and has canyon and ocean views.  Imagine coming home to this living space… *Sigh*

FLW's Ennis House

Schindler influenced many architects of his day and ours - from Richard Neutra to Morphosis: an architecture firm founded in 1972 with a philosophy based on producing work with a meaning while absorbing the culture for which it was made. They are famous for breaking the bounds of traditional forms.

Caltrans District 7 Headquarters by Morphosis

Caltrans District 7 Headquarters by Morphosis

 Team Eames

 Team Eames

In my opinion, the ultimate powerhouse of architectural and design creativity and the perfect symbiosis of love and work is the couple Charles and Ray Eames, who taught so many about the Universe with their great film Powers of Ten .

Charles,  partner and friend of architect Eero Saarinen and a big advocate for modern views in architecture, (sources claim that he was dismissed from Washington University in St. Louis for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his interest in modern architects-thank you Wikipedia!), married his Cranbrook colleague, Ray, and moved with her to Los Angeles, where they would work and live until their deaths.

 Eames House (Case Study House # 8) -a milestone of modern architecture.

 Eames House (Case Study House # 8) -a milestone of modern architecture.

 Eames Living Room

 Eames Living Room

 

  

The Chemosphere is “the most modern home in the world,” designed by John Lautner in 1960, the home which is only one story and is built on a concrete pedestal. 

 

John's Lautner's Chemosphere House

John's Lautner's Chemosphere House

And now, one of my favorite guilty pleasures: The Getty Center, this hilltop site with arresting views of the street-grid of the city and the Pacific Ocean, from where Angelenos reflect on the blessing of their globe positioning, and visitors can take in prominent features of the Los Angeles cityscape.

Richard Meier's Getty Center

Richard Meier's Getty Center

 Architect Richard Meier interplays a horizontality reminiscent of the work of Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright, intermixed with curvilinear design elements, like the circular Museum Entrance Hall and the canopy over the Harold M. Williams Auditorium entrance – both of which call to mind the Baroque. 

This is only the beginning of our journey, web traveler. I invite you in the times to come on a trek through my world: the City of Angels seen through my eyes.  The freedom afforded to Star Architects is not entirely unique to Los Angeles: Sidney, Toronto, London, or Astana come to mind, as well - but it’s the unique combination of the sweet climate of the land, mellow temper of the people, and the unbridled creativity, budgets and egos of the City’s moguls, and last but not least the men and women of the local industry come to be known globally as “Hollywood” that make my City of Angels a creuzet for a truly special Alchemy of Style the whole world can’t ever look away from.

 Come back and visit for the next step in this journey of initiation…

 Gabby