Barbara Bestor: Recent works (December 6, 2017)



Hernan Diaz Alonso introduces Barbara Bestor as an exemplar of the Southern California design culture of work that is disconcerting, but in a friendly way.

Barbara Bestor begins with a discussion of her current (2017) office in Silver Lake, stressing the community of designers that produces the work, and also the design of the office space that, reflecting most of her other work, employs architecture to create spaces for community.

She discusses residential projects, beginning with a renovation for herself and her daughters, a range of projects for other clients, and her 2006 book Bohemian Modern, which she characterizes as a tribute to a community of 21st century experimentors living in 20th century experiments.

Bestor discusses several large projects, including the
• Blackbirds residential cluster of 18 homes (2015), an experiment in “stealth density”
• Intelligentsia coffee shop (2009), which provides the section of Sunset Junction with a place for gathering. Her goal here, and in other projects, is to create a space engaging enough to get people off their phones.
• The Silver Lake Conservatory of Music (2016 ), creating a village of individual lesson rooms and performance spaces
• A project for an Alder adult community center for the Griffith Park Adult Community Club
• The Beats by Dre headquarters (2014) in Culver City,
• A project for a Technology Studio Headquarters in Culver City, featuring an all-in-one movie production facility
• A renovation of John Lautner’s SIlvertop house (2014-7), where the challenge was to create a language that would be tied in with the original intention, but marked as different. Much of the project involved a “hidden layer” of new mechanical, electrical, and digital systems.

Bestor describes her Silent Disco installation for the SCI-Arc Gallery (2011), and the subsequent Denise Scott Brown/Pritzker Prize controversy as the impetus to curate exhibits highlighting under-recognized designers: Deborah Sussman Loves LA! (2013) and photographs of the work of Paul Williams by Janna Ireland (2017) at Woodbury’s WUHO Gallery. The design of the exhibit Albert Frey & Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture (2017), for the Palm Springs Architecture Museum was intended as sensorial overload beyond the typical architecture exhibition.

Bestor describes BODE: Palm Springs (forthcoming 2019), a complex of houses designed to be Airbnb rentals. She concludes with the production and hospitality buildings for Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Nappa Valley (2017 ), which broke with the conventional Nappa Valley aesthetic by deploying Southern California modernism, almost as a Pop Art signifiers.

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