The Los Angeles Design Festival is an annual citywide celebration of artistic talent that honors LAs' design community and celebrates its status as a global design capital. If you live on the West Coast of the United States LA Design Festival is definitely a must-visit event in the month of June. The Design Festival organized programming around four areas, Culver City, La Brea, Silver Lake and DTLA. Each district features a hub where guests could pick up information about the Design Festival; attend programs, events, shop and explore.
I chose to concentrate my weekend around the hip DTLA area, it’s a tapestry of creative neighborhoods form South Park to Chinatown that houses countless architecture offices, art galleries, amazing shopping, and much more, it’s a challenge to condense all the creativity into one weekend of programming. Here is a glimpse of my few days of design.
(Click on the images for a better view)
SOUTH PARK - Dwell on Design
The festival events started by taking advantage of Fridays design trade day at Dwell on Design held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA's South Park district. The weekend long event hosted over 30,000 attendees and invited the participants to “step into the pages of Dwell” (magazine) and not only experience modern design but the hottest design innovations of the year. Every year there is something new and exciting to discover. While exploring over 400 exhibition spaces I found a few new favorites.
Loved these chandeliers made from recycled bike chains by Facaro.
Below left - GRAVY wall sconce swivel head shines light where you want it and comes in a wide selection of finishes.
Below right - these stackable wooden and concrete planters make a great statement.
ARTS DISTRICT - Walking Tour
Before Saturdays’ official design events started we had time for a quick breakfast and a self-guided tour of the Arts District. We began with some coffee and a bite to eat for fortification at the popular homegrown coffee and tea cafe, Groundwork. Then we headed off to explore the areas shops and boutiques.
LITTLE TOKYO - Art Tour
The official design events started in the afternoon with a tour in downtown LA’s Little Tokyo’s pop-up at Brunswig Square. Show +Tell is a Pop-up art and design concept store and project space for special events and collaborations. Artist Taidgh ONeill and Shoshi Kanokohata shared their experience of creating an installation that unites fine art, architecture, and design, showcasing Kanokohata's pottery and ONeill's beautiful furniture.
ARTS DISTRICT - Art Tour
The tour continued at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, in the hip Downtown Arts District of Los Angeles, the gallery occupies the restored Globe Grain and Milling complex, a collection of interconnected late 19th and early 20th century buildings and internal outdoor spaces. The exhibiting collection of women’s sculptures spanning the years 1947-2016 traces ways in which women have changed the course of art. The exhibiting spaces were as inspiring as the art work many of the buildings characteristics where kept intact adding a cool factor.
Next stop on the tour, Califia Farms restored airy, modern space designed by Rachel Allen Architecture. The new DTLA Arts District headquarters for Califia Farms is not your typical warehouse conversion. An existing bow-truss building of approximately 7000 square feet with twenty-five foot ceilings was fit with a perimeter of private offices and an open mezzanine. Rotating chalk art adorns the office walls with the current one being of the goddess Califia. To top the tour off we enjoyed several custom Califia Farms cocktails.
CHINATOWN - Art Galleries
Saturday ended with the closing party to the Los Angeles Design Festival which was held in the middle of Chung King Road’s galleries in the historic Chinatown, Los Angeles core. The event feature exhibitions exploring design in terms of visual, scent, sound, touch and taste.
WAREHOUSE DISTRICT - Market
Wrapping up the weekend's design events on Sunday was Smorgasburg Los Angeles, a weekly food + design market. Smorgasburg is held on the five-acre site of the weekday Alameda Produce Market and is fashioned after the popular Brooklyn weekly event. You can find dozens of exciting food vendors, plus sophisticated shopping from the realms of design, craft, style, vintage, wellness, and more. The weekly event is transforming the vast site into a new node in Downtown LA’s growing scene, and a unique destination for the region.
BUNKERS HILL - Eye Candy
A weekend in LA wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop in the historic core before heading home. The new iconic Board museum is open and the lines were around the block. The beautiful structure is designed by world-renowned architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, with its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept. Next door is another icon - the Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. While in the Bunkers Hill area the historic Angels Flight is an incline railway and a landmark in downtown. At the foot of the incline is another must do, the Central Market Place.
At an early age I set out to see the world, and while having already visited over 50 countries, I feel that my journey is just beginning. For me, travel and design go hand in hand. Whether seeking out great shops in trendy neighborhoods or exploring the architectural environment around me, discovering design inspiration everywhere I go enriches me to transform a client’s needs and desires into into their dream home.
Mike Howard is an award-winning designer specializing in kitchens, baths and small space design.