Saturday, May 21, 2011

John Chase's West Hollywood

This map was created to illustrate, to celebrate, to capture the influence of John Leighton Chase on the architecture, urban design and places of the City of West Hollywood. John was West Hollywood’s city urban designer from 1996 to 2010. But he was much more than that. John Chase was an architect, a writer, a flâneur, a social commentator. In short, he was modern day dandy who could see in the details of building and pavement the hidden treasures of space and beauty. From new windows to new development, from historic preservation to landscape design, John’s touch blessed the city’s built environment, making it, through his incremental differences, a better place to walk, to eat, and just to be. John Leighton Chase died on August 13, 2010.

A beautiful map designed by Keith Scharwath and produced by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and design east of La Brea includes 31 West Hollywood destinations that John designed, protected, enabled, approved, admired or frequented, along with descriptions, stories and anecdotes written by John's friends and collaborators. It's printed on newsprint in an eye-popping hot pink that was sourced from one of John's outfits and is the perfect guide to a day of walking in LA. See more images.

The map is available for purchase using the PayPal link below. One map is $5 and three maps are $10. Prices include shipping. If you'd like to buy four or more maps, contact us at hello[at]designeastoflabrea[dot]org You'll also be able to find the maps soon at LA Forum events and other locations.

John Chase's West Hollywood Map

John back on the big screen

The Walking Tour
On May 21, 2011 over 200 people embarked upon a walking tour of West Hollywood to visit many of the locations on the John Chase map. See photos and a recap from John Chase's West Hollywood Walk.

Books by John Chase
The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture
John Chase
(The Museum of Art & History)

Exterior Decoration: Hollywood's Inside-Out Houses
John Chase
(Hennessey + Ingalls)

Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving: Reflections on Building Production in the Vernacular City
John Chase

L.A. 2000+: New Architecture in Los Angeles
John Chase
(The Monacelli Press)

Las Vegas: The Success of Excess
Frances Anderton and John Chase

Everyday Urbanism (Expanded)
John Chase, John Kaliski and Margaret Crawford
(The Monacelli Press)

John Chase on the Plummer Park Community Center

DnA: Design and Architecture episode on John Chase
After he died, host Frances Anderton dedicated a segment on her KCRW radio show to John Chase's legacy. The show features many of his friends, coworkers, collaborators and contemporaries speaking about his influence on West Hollywood. You can listen to the show online.

More Memories of John Chase
John Chase Dies at 57; Writer, Urban Designer for West Hollywood (Los Angeles Times)
John Chase Leaves Us: West Hollywood Urban Designer; Dear Friend (DnA blog)
West Hollywood's John Chase Passes Away (Curbed LA)
John Chase, West Hollywood's Urban Designer, Was 57 (LA Observed)
Remembering John Chase, the King of Public Space (Gelatobaby)
John Chase's West Hollywood (DnA blog, which was the progenitor of this map)

Frances Anderton
Siobhan Burke
Jennifer Davis
John Kaliski
John Keho
Christopher Hawthorne
Deborah Murphy
Alissa Walker

Special thanks to John's sister Laura Chase and John's husband Jonathan Cowan

Sponsored By
design east of La Brea

Learn more about the John Chase Memorial Fund. Donations are tax-deductible.

Design and illustration by Keith Scharwath

Sunday, May 15, 2011

June 5 > Design-n-Dim Sum Bike Tour > Chinatown

It's back! Get ready for our annual Design-n-Dim Sum bike ride on Sunday, June 5th for another day of studio visits, biking and bao. And for the first time, we'll be riding through Elysian Park on the way to Chinatown. We'll be meeting at bike shop Flying Pigeon in Highland Park at 10:30am and will be on the road by 11am. Our itinerary for the day:

Start: Flying Pigeon LA
3714 N. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90042

1st Stop: RAC Design Build
3006 N Coolidge Ave Los Angeles, CA 90039

2nd Stop: Tracy A. Stone Architect
2041 Blake Ave Los Angeles, CA 90039

3rd Stop: Johnson Fain
1201 N Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012

4th Stop: Artist Zoe Crosher's Studio
970 N Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012

Final Stop: Golden Dragon Restaurant for dim sum

The logistics:

If you have a bike, please bring it. We have 10 bikes available for rental from Flying Pigeon, for $15 for the day. Bikes are on a first come, first serve basis via RSVP.

Please bring water and sunscreen. It can get hot out there!

Please bring CASH only for the dim sum. We estimate the cost will be about $20 per person.

RSVP here. We need a headcount to reserve the restaurant so if you need to cancel your reservation, please let us know as soon as possible.

And finally, if you want to join us for part of the day, follow us on twitter. We'll be updating our location throughout the day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Recap > Osteria La Buca > Hollywood

On Monday, May 9th, we gathered around the zinc-topped bar at Osteria La Buca on a formerly desolate stretch of Melrose near Paramount Studios to meet designer Brendan Ravenhill.  After enjoying our Negronis and bar snacks such a pork-roasted almonds and house-pickled vegetables (as well as some killer pizzas), Brendan explained how he transitioned from designing a simple bottle opener to an entire restaurant.
The bottle opener that started it all
Owner Graham Snyder spotted Brendan's bottle opener in an article and called him to meet the designer. When the two met, they discovered they shared a similar philosophy around their passions. Brendan believes in the integrity of materials and allowing them to shine, while Graham brings a parallel philosophy to his restaurant, preferring to let local ingredients sing, rather than needlessly adorning them.
Demonstrating design
While most of the renovation was cosmetic rather than architectural, Brendan knocked down a wall as La Buca took over a third storefront for its expansion. He also designed all of the seating, including new banquettes, chairs that mimic the barstools (some of the most comfortable hard-backed stools we've ever sat in), and the round-topped stools at the communal table that allow diners to swing easily to see what's going on in the rest of the restaurant.
Awesome lighting
Brendan also prefers materials with a natural patina, or surfaces meant to age with use. The zinc bar (which Brendan said had an "awkward adolescence" its first 3 months) was meant to stain over time, much of the wood is recycled barn wood with naturally variegated tones, and the stools are meant to withstand shoe scuffs.
Amazing handpainted sign
The renovation (which closed the restaurant for all of eight days in April) was also a family affair, with Brendan's wife contributing the hand-painted signage both inside and on the exterior of the restaurant. And most of the furniture and lighting manufacturing was done in LA, which Brendan notes has a wealth of great fabricators.

Local food, local design.

Check out some more photos here and here.

Next up, please join us for our memorial walk for John Chase on May 21st. And get ready for more great events in June, including our annual Design-n-Dim Sum Bike Ride!