Okay, it was actually on yesterday’s DnA, but this month’s show was early (2nd Tuesday instead of 3rd) so technically I’m still ahead of the game. “BCAM Comes to Town” opens with a very timely feature this Valentine’s Day week: Where to have dinner when you want your date to whisper sweet nothings, and where to go when you’d prefer he’d say nothing at all.
To illustrate the rising decibels at restaurants in LA, Frances Anderton screams over the dinner din with my hero Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic for the LA Weekly. An acoustician explains the design decisions behind rock concert-level Osteria Mozza (complete with Mario Batali’s signature hard-rocking soundtrack, which if you don’t like apparently you can suck his, um, salumi) vs. the pleasant hum of Providence. Frances also recommends restaurants designed by Shawn Hausman—he did the restaurants at both of LA’s Standard Hotels—who actually uses the acoustic tiles as a design element.
The rest of the show is a round-up of talking heads commenting on the new BCAM, including a sexy Italian-accented interlude from architect Renzo Piano. I especially liked the descriptions of BCAM from three local critics: Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell both had issues with the building’s relationship to the street (“It’s a billboard,” says Greg; “monolithic travertine facade like a Macy’s,” says Sam), but Jade Chang, who also loved Chris Burden’s vintage streetlamp installation along Wilshire, thought the palm-fringed plaza had a nice pedestrian edge. Frances also mentions that BCAM is great for kids, and I completely agree, although you should be prepared to explain exactly why they can’t climb on the gigantic red toy firetruck.
One more thing to note: I edit the DnA calendar, so if you know of any design or architecture events in Los Angeles, please send them my way. Also worth noting, you can listen to DnA on KCRW live every 3rd Tuesday at 2:30pm PST, by podcasting through iTunes, or by streaming the audio at any time by clicking the little ‘Listen’ button underneath each show’s title on KCRW’s website.