I was meeting Thom after work yesterday. His showroom (Witford) is in the “blue whale” – the Blue building at Pacific Design Center. This massive structure contains six floors of home furnishings showrooms, most of which only sell to the trade (i.e., you need to be, or be with, an architect or interior designer to buy) – but the public is welcomed throughout the building. If you’re interested in furniture and interior design, this is part mall, part school, part playground! (It’s not the most appropriate place to bring kids, I should add.)
The building itself is a monumental sculpture designed by Cesar Pelli and built in 1975. (The Green and Red buildings followed in 1988 and 2011.) It dominates the streetscape along Melrose Avenue, like a big blue castle looming over the village. But the unconventional shape clad in cobalt blue glass gives this monster a playful personality. On the southwestern corner of the property by San Vicente stands a 20-foot tall aluminum chair; on the east side of the building is an equally oversized lamp. Message: This is a design center, not a condo for Smurfs.
What many people may not know is that in addition to the design showrooms, the Blue building is also home to a number of art galleries. (There is even an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) located in the fountain courtyard of PDC – but that’s another post.) I had about an hour to kill, so I wandered around the 2nd floor to visit some galleries. They don’t all keep regular hours, so it can be hit or miss. But there were a half dozen open on a Thursday afternoon.
So I meandered, rarely bumping into another person. In one gallery, there were tables and chairs and entire walls covered with circuit boards and other computer innards. Not really my cup of tea. But then I came upon the most fantastic sculpture at the CMay gallery. Korean artist Bahk Seon Ghi creates the most amazing installations composed of small bits of black charcoal suspended by almost invisible nylon filaments.
The nearly weightless piece has visual mass. This is the only piece here by Bahk Seon Ghi. A Google search delivers a treasure trove of his other works. He specializes in creating architectural forms – columns, staircases, arches – using suspended charcoal, which lets him play visual tricks by tweaking the structures. I’m tempted to include a dozen images, but you can start with the link, below.
I also found artmergelab with an exhibition curated by Jae Yang featuring four artists, all of whom incorporate photographic imagery into their work. I was particularly drawn to several pieces by Bryan Bankston. He creates composites using hundreds of images of human faces found on Google. The resulting “portraits” are mesmerizing.
There is so much more awaiting you at PDC. More galleries, artists, and the showrooms, of course. There’s also a decent restaurant upstairs, and a ‘sidewalk’ cafe by the main entrance on Melrose. And that’s my contribution to your cultural enrichment for today!
The End (so far)