A revolution is taking place in Los Angeles, defining the city as a capital of international design.
That was apparent at the Los Angeles Design Festival — the jam-packed month of exhibitions, home tours and shows with Dwell on Design and INTRO/LA emphasizing the international design presence in Los Angeles and the makers who are shaping the emerging landscape.
The takeaway? Talented designers from abroad are staking their claim in the city.
“I can make almost anything I can dream up here, and I love that,” said designer Stephen Kenn, who relocated from his native Canada to Los Angeles. “I also love the design community. It is friendly and collaborative.”
He crafts everything from furniture to luxe overnight duffles by experimenting with new processes and quality materials out of his downtown Los Angeles studio.
Wrk-shp’s Airi Isoda and Ryan Upton, the husband-and-wife team that splits its time between Tokyo and L.A., consistently teams up with local makers on architecture, furniture and fashion pieces. At INTRO/LA, Wrk-shp debuted a collection of pieces made using Japanese textile cording in a Danish weave style mastered by local artisans.
This year’s shows did not disappoint, from the use of rope at the Brazilian outdoor furniture company Tidelli, to art and design intersections at industry giant Signature Kitchen Suite with live paintings done by artist Donald Robertson, to a fresh host of architects turned makers like Lebanese-born Sevak Karabachian, who manages his time between firm Gehry Partners and his new sideline, furniture design.
Designers weren’t the only ones on the scene. Rose Apodaca, co-founder of L.A. design resource and store A+R, curated a fluid mix of pieces by local designers and European brands including Hay, Menu and New Works, which A+R is introducing to the Los Angeles market. "At A+R alone, we’ve entertained creative directors and designers from Denmark, England, Spain, New Zealand and Hong Kong," says Apodaca.
The city, she said, is a place where there, “is space — to live and work, to try new ideas, to fail and reinvent.”
Here’s what caught our eye:
Hand-carved raised silk perfected in India on Kush’s Skull Dot wool rug creates texture in a new dimension. $1,900, kushrugs.com