de LaB


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About de Lab (that’s: design east of La Brea) A semi-regular gathering of Los Angeles design professionals living, working, and experimenting east of La Brea. Each month we feature a designer in the context of their “lab,” whether it’s their own studio, workshop, or factory; or inside the restaurant, bar, or house they designed; or at a store, gallery or show that features their work. If the place we gather doesn’t happen to serve drinks or food, we bring our own or end the night at a place around the corner that does.

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You can find recaps of every event at

From a field trip to Palm Springs to yet another Design and Dim Sum bike ride, here are all the events we hosted in 2011, another great year!

It was a great 2010, here’s a look back at all the events we hosted. Plus! A mention in the LA Times as an “intellectually-spiked salon.” Woohoo!

In December, we got a private tour of the beautiful downtown school Inner-City Arts by architect Michael Maltzan. What a rare and unique opportunity to go inside this gorgeous building that’s serving local children and revitalizing the neighborhood.

For October, we hosted a panel on pro bono design at the California Design Biennial at PMCA, followed by coffee talk and branding insight with our friends at Intelligentsia Pasadena. Full report here.

In September we were back outside our favorite Silver Lake restaurant, LOCAL, with a parking spot converted into public space for Park[ing] Day. Here’s the recap!

Happy summer! Since we took July off, we couldn’t help but make it up to you with two events for August: Moving Beyond Cars and Vertical Veggies. Read the recaps here!

In June we had our first-ever de LaB fundraiser, City Listening II! Over 300 people joined us to see your favorite design, architecture and art writers, a silent auction with art and design work from members of the de LaB community, fantastic food and drinks (of course), and plenty of surprises and special guests. Here are photos and thank yous! We’ll see you at City Listening II!

In May we held our second Design-n-Dim Sum bike ride with Flying Pigeon! We met at Flying Pigeon’s Highland Park bike shop then rode to Chinatown to visit four galleries and shops before stopping for dim sum at Golden Dragon.

In April we opened Make Time, a one-night pop-up shop at the Downtown Art Walk , hosted by Ball-Nogues Studio. A dozen de LaB community members sold pieces they had been busy making during the downtime.

In March we headed to the brand-new, South Park-adjacent Fix Gallery for drinks and high jinx beneath a giant, die-cut paper canopy designed by the artful (if not sliced) hands of paper experimentalists from Fat Fringe at the Fix, a collaborative project that explores large scale, high volume paper cutting.

In February we met at the MAK Center for a bus tour to see How Many Billboards? Art In Stead with curator Kimberli Meyer. Then we finished out the night at the Andaz West Hollywood where a comprehensive public art program has made the hotel a destination in itself. Andaz curator Merry Norris showed up for drinks just a few hours after she got back from Spain!

For a special December de LaB we rode the new Gold Line Eastside Extension into East L.A. with Metro’s James Rojas, who schooled us in Latino urbanism, Our Lady of Guadalupe shrines and delectable Mexican delights at El Mercado de Los Angeles.

In November as we watched the High-Energy Double Channel, videos by CalArtians, hosted at Ball-Nogues Studio in Downtown LA during the Downtown Art Walk.

In September we teamed up with Curbed LA and Greenmeme for Park[ing] Day. We set up our pocket farm–complete with goats!–outside the Silver Lake restaurant LOCAL.

In August we visited one of LA’s newest parks as landscape architect Mia Lehrer gave us a tour of the 9.5 acre Vista Hermosa Park located near downtown. We also enjoyed Coolhaus‘ architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwiches with their delicious new Caramia Lehrer flavor!

In July we took a Tiki Trek! Starting at the Rosemead restaurant Bahooka at 6:30pm where we got schooled in Tiki culture. Then we headed down the street to Kona Kai, a well-preserved Tiki apartment building. Finally, ended at Tiki Ti in Silver Lake to hear about its unique connection to LA’s Tiki culture. Thanks to Popsicles for Everyone!

In June we did design and dim sum with Flying Pigeon. That’s right, de LaB on bikes! We started in Highland Park and rode to Chinatown, with stops at Fung + Blatt, Fifth Floor, and FOC. Then, we stuffed ourselves silly (for about $20 each) with dim sum at Ocean Seafood.

In May we headed to Boyle Heights for In the Fold, a collaborative origami night where we increased our papercraft skills thanks to our friends at Bunch Design. We spent the evening learning a simple folding technique that we used to build a huge 3D wall in their studio. We toasted our progress with micheladas and delectable flavored butters!

In April we had not only our first weekend de LaB ever, it was also our first daytime de LaB! About 60 people joined us for a Garden Party as part of LA Art Weekend where we toured Alexis Rochas‘ SYNTHe rooftop garden atop the Flat Building downtown, then dined on freshly-picked produce at Blue Velvet. Thanks to Alexis and everyone at ForYourArt!

For March we went back in time to the 1908 interiors of Cole’s, originator of the famed French Dip, and its brand-new speakeasy The Varnish. Designer Ricki Kline gave us a tour of all the fantastic restoration work and period detail followed by era-appropriate cocktails and of course, French Dips. Thanks 213!

In February we headed to Lincoln Heights for a tour of the Daly Lofts, architect and writer Joseph Giovannini‘s first major LA project.  Formerly a telephone trucking garage, this 23,000 square-foot structure now houses a series of trippy, sculptural modern live-work lofts that defy definition.

Our December event, City Listening gathered seven local design and architecture writers to read stories about LA. Here are links to the readings, so you can read along at home! Frances Anderton: Whatever Happened to Los Angeles? [PDF] Jade Chang: In Defense of the Mini-mall John Chase: Sleeping with the Homeless (not yet online, we’re still debating between the R and NC-17 rating) Christopher Hawthorne: New Developments Mask Wild Land’s Deadly Threat Marissa Gluck & Josh Williams: That’s Rather Hideous/Million Dollar Listings Sam Lubell: Fear and Loathing in Glendale Alissa Walker: The Night Before Layoffs See photos by Jenn Su and Keith Wiley and read the wrap ups on the Architect’s Newspaper, DnA and Dwell blogs. Thanks also to our drinks sponsors, Pama and Hpnotiq. And a big thank you to GOOD for hosting us as part of GOOD December.

In October, we asked you to go Out of Your Gourd for de LaB’s official extreme pumpkin design competition. The winning pumpkin can be seen here. Thanks to the The Farmers Cart and Lettuce Office (notice our harvest theme here?), and $230 in post-pumpkin proceeds went to the Downtown’s Women Shelter, just in time for the holidays.

In September we joined East of Eden, to find out where, exactly, was east. At this multi-gallery exhibition focusing on contributions from galleries located on the east side of town, we conducted a little mapping experiment where we asked attendees to draw where they thought the east side of LA was located. It inspired, um, spirited discourse, to say the least.

In August, we ventured down to the LA River with Freya Bardell and Brian Howe of Greenmeme. After a visit to their new Atwater Village studio (complete with oversized My Little Pony), we took a field trip to our local waterway to reconnect with our riparian treasure. Thanks to TRU Organic Vodka for the amazing green (literally!) cocktails. Check out pictures by photographer Adam Latham and by Karen Farrah Oswald at

In July, we teamed up with the Architect’s Newspaper for a fundraiser at the NeutraVDL House in Silver Lake. We raised about $3000 to aid Cal Poly Pomona’s preservation efforts for this midcentury gem. One lucky winner went home with a mint Eames rocker thanks to our dear friends at Modernica. Check out fantastic photos of the Neutra VDL event by photographer Adam Latham.

In June, we took a break. But we were thinking of you the entire time!

In May, we headed back to Silver Lake for a special evening of green thinking and coffee drinking. After checking out a gravity-defying installation and ducking into a sweet design shop, we ended the night by learning a thing or two about proper caffeination. Thanks so much to everyone at Materials & Applications, Rubbish Interiors and LA Mill.

In April we ventured two short blocks west of La Brea to welcome the Storefront for Art and Architecture Pop-Up Store to Los Angeles. Hundreds of design folk shared Stellas and sweaty embraces as the party spilled out onto Sunset Boulevard. Intrepid reporter Jade Chang covered the scene for Metropolis’ POV blog. Thanks to the Storefront and ForYourArt!

In March we brought you a double dose of great design: A fashion show featuring the meaningful urban wear of se_arch+resQ hosted by our friends at MAKE Architecture. Guests who bought se_arch+resQ clothing and accessories supported non-profits with a focus on humanitarian issues and positive change. Thanks to our models and to Jenn Kennedy for the professional photos.

In February we headed to FreshPressed, the fabulous new screenprinting shop in Los Feliz! Thanks to proprietor Jonathan Sample we walked away with six custom designs by ALT Design, Bolton Design, Lettuce, Picnic Design, Tokyo Farm and Still Room printed on t-shirts, tote bags, posters—even neckties! Check out the photos!

In January, we visited the studio of Spacecraft & DSR in the heart of Hollywood. Our gracious hosts took us on a design walkabout to behind-the-plywood looks at Hollywood hotspots Kitchen 24 and Bar Deluxe and a grand tour of just-opened nightclub Goa. Of course we took some photos.

Are you a design professional living, working, or experimenting east of La Brea? Add your studios or projects to our de LaB Google Map (see below). Why not join our de Lab Flickr group while you’re at it? Don’t forget to upload your event photos there, too.

And would you look at that, we’re on Facebook, too!

Questions? Ideas for future events? Hit us up:

Haily: haily AT
Alissa: alissa AT
Marissa: marissa AT

part design lab, part social experiment View Larger Map

de Lab logo by Keith Scharwath

Thanks to our annual sponsors!

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