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    Jialun Xiong balances contrasts at “retro-futurist” restaurant in Los Angeles

    LA-based furniture designer Jialun Xiong has completed her first restaurant interior in the city for 19 Town, achieving a retro-futurist look by pairing soft hues and metallic surfaces.

    Serving Chinese fusion food, the 19 Town restaurant is located in an industrial area close to Downtown LA.
    Upon entry to 19 Town, diners are met at a stainless steel and Formica counterThe name is a play on words from a phrase in Mandarin, signifying a venue that has food and wine according to Xiong, who is originally from Chongqing.
    She used a variety of materials and her own furniture designs to give the space a sense of “lavish restraint”, through the combination of minimal forms and rich details.
    Designer Jialun Xiong aimed to create “high-drama interiors” through the use of contrasting materials”Crafted with rigorously minimal forms balanced by rich materials like Venetian plaster, silver, and leather, the restaurant’s high-drama interiors create an elevated dining experience where connection around food takes centre stage,” said a statement on behalf of Xiong.

    The 4,200-square-foot (390-square-metre) restaurant is divided into five areas, which include the main dining space, a bar and lounge, and three private rooms.
    Glass block partitions define the spacesEach space is designed with its own identity, including the entry, featuring a custom brushed stainless steel and Formica reception desk.
    Behind, the wall is covered in Venetian plaster and plywood cabinets offer storage, while a series of circular Vibia pendant lights hang above.
    Xiong used multiple pieces from her Building Blocks collection to furnish the restaurantGlass block partitions define the perimeter of the main dining area, comprising a central seating area with round tables, and custom banquettes made from brushed stainless, green leather and vinyl.
    “Overlooking an open kitchen, the main dining space evokes an aura of retro-futurism,” said the team.
    The main dining room features custom stainless steel banquettesThe lounge is located on one side and the screened bar is situated on the other – both continuing the same design language as the central room, but with their own twist.
    Xiong used multiple pieces from her Building Blocks collection to furnish these spaces, such as a silver powder-coated metal bench with off-white leather upholstered seats.

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    Other items also combine industrial and natural materials, creating a balance between soft and hard, shiny and matte, and heavy and light.
    A variety of lighting designs with disc-shaped elements are installed throughout, adding to the retro-futurist appearance.
    The restaurant has three private dining rooms, all with a restrained aestheticThe private dining spaces are decorated using a monochromatic palette and a restrained approach, with green providing a subtle injection of muted colour.
    The overall result is a series of “balanced spaces where furnishings, lighting, and spatial volumes are considered together as a total composition”.
    The bar also features custom furnishingsMinimalism has become an increasingly popular style choice for Chinese restaurants, both in China and around the globe.
    Others include a hotpot restaurant with thick stucco walls in Qinhuangdao, a muted monochrome space in Ontario, and an eatery featuring stainless steel, brass and polycarbonate in Manhattan.
    The photography is by Ye Rin Mok.

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    Black staircases link SC Workplace by Behnisch Architekten

    A variety of black staircases dogleg and spiral between the levels of this office in Southern California, designed by global firm Behnisch Architekten.

    Tasked with bringing personality to a four-storey “developer box”, Behnisch Architekten 110,000 square feet (10,220 square metres) for an undisclosed client.
    Hairpin staircases rise through an atrium to link offices on different levels”We had the opportunity to work with a great client to transform this ubiquitous building type into a dynamic work environment, which promotes connection and collaboration,” said the studio.
    The building shell, measuring 120 by 240 feet (37 by 74 metres), features glass facades and an elevator core at its centre.
    Behnisch Architekten carved the atria from the floor plates to bring in light and create visual connectionsThe team began by carving up the continuous floor plates to open up the levels to one another – allowing in more light and creating visual connections between multiple spaces.

    On opposite sides of the core, they created two “eccentrically-shaped atriums” by staggering the walls of meeting rooms on the different storeys.
    The staircases are wrapped in solid black on three sides”A pair of hairpin-shaped stairs are situated in each atrium and connect users between office levels two to four, promoting inter-level exchange, but also serving as a sculptural element within the space,” said the studio.
    Voids were also created in opposing corners, each containing a spiral staircase treated with the same solid black balustrades and light wooden treads as the doglegged ones.
    More voids were formed at the building’s corners, which are used as lounge areas”The multitude of options between levels allows users to move freely from floor to floor,” Behnisch Architekten said. “These voids also add communication and transparency between previously disconnected floor plates.”
    Lounge areas also occupy the corner voids, which offer social spaces for employees and are flooded with light from the dual-aspect glazing.
    Spiral staircases provide alternatives vertical routes through the buildingPrivate offices are situated around the building’s perimeter so that users are afforded light and views.
    Closer to the elevator lobbies, conference and meeting rooms feature glass walls, allowing some to overlook the atria.
    Meeting and conference rooms are located in the centre of the buildingFor wayfinding and booking, every meeting room is named after a river, while lounges are represented by lakes.
    Each floor corresponds with two continental regions, which are identified through custom-designed wood artworks and photography.

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    Amenities for staff at ground level include a bouldering wall that wraps the core and is connected to a gym and a game room.
    A large dining hall features pale materials and a slatted wood ceiling also found in other areas of the building.
    On the ground floor, the core is wrapped with a bouldering wallStefan Behnisch established Behnisch Architekten in Stuttgart in 1989 with his late father Günter Behnisch. The firm now has additional offices in Los Angeles, Boston and Munich.
    It has completed a variety of different building typologies over the years, from kindergartens, schools and laboratories, to offices for Adidas and an academic building at Harvard University.
    Staff amenities include a large dining hallBehnisch was interviewed about his firm’s projects as part of Dezeen’s Virtual Design Festival in 2020.
    The photography is by Brad Feinknopf and Nephew.
    Project credits:
    Project team: Kristi Paulson (Partner in Charge), Daniel Poei (Director/Project Lead), Tony Gonzalez, Vera Tian, Laura Fox, Eric Hegre Apurva Ravi, Victoria OakesConsultants: John A. Martin & Associates (Structural), Loisos + Ubbelohde (Lighting/Daylighting), ARUP (Fire/Life Safety, Acoustical, Audio/Visual), ACCO Engineered Systems (Design-Build – Mechanical/Plumbing), Morrow Meadows (Design- Build – Electrical), Pinnacle (Design-Build – Audio/Visual), Ockert and Partners (Graphics), SPMDesign (Custom-fabricated Artwork)General contractor: DPR Construction

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    Hollywood puppet theatre becomes Chief LA members' club

    A clubhouse for women in business now occupies a 1940s theatre in Los Angeles, following renovation work by JM|A+D and TAP Studio, with interiors by AvroKO.

    The three studios collaborated to rehabilitate the former Hollywood puppet theatre to create the Los Angeles flagship for Chief, which offers memberships to women in leadership roles.
    Like Chief’s other locations, the LA flagship clubhouse is designed to have a residential feel”Designed as a space for the most powerful women in business to connect and find community, we re-conceptualized the historic structure as a modern pied-a-terre, reinterpreting the best elements of traditional member’s club environments with a bold, lush palette,” said the team in a joint statement.
    JM|A+D and TAP Studio – both based in California – worked on restoring the theatre building while updating the spaces for their new purposes.
    The former theatre was converted to include two bars, five conference rooms and multiple lounges”From scattered wet bars and mothers’ rooms to carefully scaled seating and meeting areas, our goal was to develop a female-focused environment that brings the membership network’s mission to life,” the team said.

    “We dovetailed original building elements with new millwork, pathways, and technology to create an enfilade of communal and enclosed zones designed to host large events, lingering, chance encounters and focused work.”
    Conference rooms are each identified by a different colourThe interiors incorporate some of the design elements in Chief’s New York and Chicago locations, the latter of which was also designed by AvroKO and was named Large Workspace of the Year at the Dezeen Awards 2021.
    The visual threads between the different outposts include the use of rich colours and mix of furniture styles to create a residential feel, and incorporating many pieces by female artists and designers among custom millwork and vintage finds.
    Nods to the building’s former use include framed signatures of those who performed thereThe 14,000-square-foot (1,300-square-metre) LA clubhouse is split over two levels and includes two bars, five conference rooms, multiple lounge areas, and smaller private rooms for meetings or focused work.
    An outdoor patio is also available for members to sit among the trees or around a fire pit.

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    Inside, another fireplace is clad in narrow, glossy ceramic tiles and forms a focal point at the end of the bar.
    Each of the conference rooms is identified by a different colour, such as a large room with a sienna-hued ceiling and another that’s painted dark blue.
    A mix of furniture styles includes custom pieces, vintage finds and many designs by womenOchre yellow, dusty rose and various shades of green can also be found in upholstery, rugs, artwork and styled accessories.
    Nods to the building’s previous use are also scattered throughout. “We integrated a wall with celebrity signatures from roasts hosted at the theatre into the design,” said the team.
    Chief LA also has an outdoor patio for members to enjoyJM|A+D was founded by architect Jeffrey Miller and also has an office in Oregon. The studio has previously collaborated with TAP principal Tanya Paz on several residential projects.
    AvroKO is best known for hospitality projects and also designed the Mortimer House members’ club in London.
    The photography is by Aubrie Pick.
    Project credits:
    Architecture: JM|A+D and TAPInterior design: AvroKOCivil engineer: KPFFMEP consultant: Interface EngineeringAudiovisual consultant: VanWert Technology DesignLighting consultant: Focus LightingFood and beverage consultant: Sam Tell

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    Maison Lune gallery in California showcases art and design in residential setting

    This art and design gallery in Venice, California occupies a former private house where interiors by designer Gabriella Kuti provide a warm, neutral backdrop for the works on show.

    Maison Lune was co-founded by French artist and designer Sandrine Abessera and Ukrainian fashion designer Lubov Azria, who set about creating a “dream home, where beauty rules”.
    Maison Lune is presented as a collector’s house, where all the art and design pieces are for sale”We want to build an alternative to traditional galleries, which are often perceived as too elitist and intimidating,” said Abessera and Azria.
    The duo worked closely with interior designer Gabriella Kuti to turn what was a private house in a protected historical building into a space to showcase a rotating series of exhibitions.
    The house has various terraces and balconies used to display works outdoorsThe gallery is organised like a collector’s home, with artworks and design pieces spread across multiple rooms that total 4,000 square feet (371 square metres).

    Their intention was to allow visitors to journey through the different rooms and floors, which are designed to exude a warm atmosphere.
    The interiors were designed to provide a warm and neutral backdropThe team didn’t need to alter too much of the existing interiors but added storage and lighting to help better display the works.
    “The space was already an amazing canvas for this purpose: high ceilings, lots of lights and skylight, white limestone floors,” the co-founders told Dezeen. “We created more shelving with LA artisans and added more lights.”
    The gallery’s debut exhibition is titled Transcendence and is curated by Gaia Jacquet MatisseArchitectural features like circular windows, spiral staircases and marble bathrooms all bring character to the gallery.
    The house also has a terrace with a small swimming pool and balconies for displaying pieces outdoors.
    The team added shelving created by LA-based artisans for displaying smaller objectsEverything displayed through the various styled vignettes, from artworks to collectible design pieces, is for sale.
    The aim is to spotlight a wide range of both established and emerging artists and designers, who work across mediums and techniques including painting, sculpture, photography, furnishings, ceramics, lighting, textiles and objects.

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    “The pieces showcased represent the varied and changing cultural landscape of identities, values and beliefs,” the pair said.
    Inaugurating the gallery is a group exhibition titled Transcendence, curated by Gaia Jacquet Matisse and including work by her mother, Sophie Matisse, along with artists Bobbie Olivier, Jeannie Weissglass, Edson Fernandes, James Fischetti, Angela Damman and Santiago Martinez Peral.
    Existing architectural features like a circular bathroom window add character to the galleryTogether, the show aims to “examine the concept of duality within our existence as humans inhabiting the earth, alongside nature” according to the team.
    This debut exhibition will continue until the Frieze Los Angeles 2023 art fair, which takes place 16-19 February, then the gallery is scheduled to host four showcases per year.
    Maison Lune is located in a historic part of Venice, California, next to one of the city’s canalsPresenting art and collectible design in a residential setting has become a popular way for gallerists and fairs to contextualise the objects, and make them more appealing to potential buyers.
    Galleries like The Future Perfect, which operates showrooms in LA and New York under the moniker Casa Perfect, and the Nomad Circle series of travelling design fairs are among those that have found success through this format.

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    Great White Melrose in LA offers outdoor dining on a pink-plaster patio

    Pink plastered columns and fireplaces surround this open-concept restaurant on Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue, which co-founder and creative director Sam Cooper coloured to match his childhood home.

    Cooper and his business partner Sam Trude recently opened Great White Melrose as their third and largest location in the city, following outposts in Venice Beach and Larchmont Village.
    Fireplaces face each other across the patio dining area at Great White MelroseOn the site of a former laundromat, the 5,000-square-foot (465-square-metre) restaurant was designed by Cooper and his in-house team. Along with its casual menu by chef Juan Ferreiro, the space combines influences from coastal cultures in Australia, Mexico and Europe.
    Dining is available on a partially open patio facing the street, beneath a roof of slatted panels between weathered timber beams.
    The pink-toned plasterwork was chosen to match the colour of co-founder Sam Cooper’s childhood homePink fireplaces face each other across this area, which is lit with a soft glow from large woven pendants found in Pakistan.

    “Completely visible from the street, the open concept was developed very intentionally to create a relationship with the neighborhood, the antithesis of the way so many Los Angeles – and specifically West Hollywood – hospitality venues operate,” said the restaurant team.
    Reclaimed cobblestones sourced from Germany cover the floors inside and outGuests arrive via a ramped cobblestone walkway that passes through a procession of pink arches, each draped in greenery and featuring sconces built into the plasterwork.
    The colour was chosen to match the home where Cooper grew up in Australia, adding “a sentimental touch” to the project.
    The interior space swaps pink for neutral tonesThe reclaimed cobblestone flooring sourced from Germany continues inside, where pink is swapped for neutral tones and a focus is placed on craft.
    A bar made from Portuguese limestone runs along the back of the space, with arched niches behind displaying wine bottles on wooden shelves.
    A bar made from Portuguese limestone runs along the back of the roomOn the main wall hangs a large painting by Berlin-based artist Danny Gretscher that brings hints of the colours found outside into the room.
    Glazed doors with black metal frames concertina open to connect the indoor and outdoor areas.

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    Rattan chairs and brown-toned seat cushions found across both echo the laid-back style typically found at hospitality venues in the Mexican resort of Tulum.
    “Our West Hollywood location is an extension of what we’ve found to be a successful formula that considers all of the necessary elements for an unforgettable dining experience,” said Trude.
    Lighting is integrated into the plasterworkGreat White Melrose combines “interesting art, design, architecture, music, and a variety of options as it pertains to both food and beverage that feature the best ingredients and an ever-growing list of talented makers”, he added.
    Melrose Avenue is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, thanks to its wealth of boutique shops like Forte Forte, eateries such as the now-shuttered Auburn and design galleries including Francis Gallery LA.
    Great White Melrose is the third outpost from Cooper and business partner Sam Trude, following locations in Venice Beach and Larchmont Village”I have always enjoyed this part of West Hollywood, which seems to seamlessly connect all of the different worlds within it such as entertainment, nightlife, tourism, etc,” said Cooper.
    “There is a real energy about this space and the surrounding area and we are excited to tap into that with Great White Melrose.”
    Other hospitality projects to open recently in LA include Hotel Per La, designed by Jaqui Seerman in a neoclassical building.
    Last year, we rounded up six of the best restaurant designs in California.

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    Jaqui Seerman updates interiors of LA bank building for Hotel Per La

    A new hotel occupies 1920s bank headquarters in Downtown LA, where Jaqui Seerman refreshed public spaces to include a botanical-themed lounge and a mirror-lined arched gallery.

    Hotel Per La is housed in the neoclassical Giannini Building, built in 1922 as the headquarters for the Bank of Italy, and takes the place of the NoMad Los Angeles which closed its doors in March 2021.
    Hotel Per La replaces the Nomad Los Angeles in the 1920s bank headquartersIts 10,000 square feet (930 square metres) of public and event spaces have been refreshed by local interior designer Jaqui Seerman, who used the 12-storey property’s Italian connection to inform her updates.
    “A nod to the building’s storied beginning as a bank for the people, the ‘Per La’ name translates to ‘for the’ in Italian,” said the hotel.
    “[The bank’s] founder, Amadeo Pietro Giannini, believed in the dignity and abilities of those commonly overlooked, signifying the hotel’s inclusive spirit and name, essentially meaning ‘for Los Angeles, and people like you’.”

    A mirror-lined arched gallery opens into the main lobbyDemarcated by a pale blue awning, the hotel’s entrance has been relocated from 7th Street to Olive Street, leaving the doric columns across the grand facade fully visible.
    Through the doors, guests find themselves in a double-height lounge filled with plants and comfy chairs covered in botanical patterns.
    The custom front desk is by Voila Creative Studio and the hand-painted tapestry behind is by Jessalyn BrooksAn arched gallery lined with mirrors leads to the lobby, situated in what was once the main banking hall.
    In the reception area, a custom-made curved plaster front desk influenced by linen fabric was designed by Voila Creative Studio, while a hand-painted tapestry that hangs in the niches behind was produced by LA muralist Jessalyn Brooks.
    A purple games room features commissioned art and furniture from local artisansA rich purple lounge features a new game cabinet, as well as commissioned art and furniture sourced from local artisans.
    Event spaces range from a second-floor courtyard for private outdoor dinners, to larger spaces for up to 850 people.
    A second-floor courtyard hosts private outdoor dinnersDining options within the hotel include Per L’Ora, which serves Italian cuisine and features a light colour palette across curvaceous design elements influenced by the early 2000s.
    “The bar of the restaurant acts as a dramatic centerpiece, with a custom-made marble top in shades of green, grey, and white, and globe-shaped light fixtures, while custom white plasterwork on the front of the bar offers a new sense of texture,” said the hotel operators.

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    Adjacent to the restaurant is a casual cafe modelled on a Venetian coffee shop, serving beverages, pastries and snacks.
    On the rooftop, Bar Clara offers cocktails for poolside lounging and hosts live performances with the LA skyline as a backdrop.
    Guest rooms are decorated to echo the ornate blue and gold ceiling in lobbyThe 241 guest rooms and suites have retained much of the aesthetic created by French architect Jacques Garcia for the NoMad, referencing the restored gold and blue ceiling in the lobby.
    Downtown LA, the city’s most walkable neighbourhood, has experienced a cultural renaissance over the past decade.
    The hotel occupies the neoclassical Giannini Building in Downtown LAThe area is now home to several design-forward hotels including Kelly Wearstler’s Proper – which was just named hotel and short-stay interior of the year at the 2022 Dezeen Awards – a Soho House, and an Ace Hotel.
    Per La is the latest hotel in the US to open in a converted bank building, following the likes of The Durham in North Carolina and The Quoin in Wilmington, Delaware.
    The photography is by The Ingalls.

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    ASA Studio Albanese references mid-century offices for Thom Browne store in San Francisco

    American fashion label Thom Browne has opened its first retail location in San Francisco, designed by ASA Studio Albanese to feature dramatic marble against white slatted blinds.

    The flagship store is situated at 432 Jackson Street in the historic Yeon Building, which dates back to 1855, in the heart of the city’s luxury shopping district.
    Thom Browne’s San Francisco store pairs decorative marble walls with white slatted blindsIts interior is the latest collaboration between Thom Browne’s eponymous founder and architect Flavio Albanese of Italy-based ASA Studio Albanese, who has designed over a dozen stores for the brand since 2017.
    Like its counterparts around the world, the 1,250-square-foot (116-square-metre) space is outfitted to look like a Mad Men-era workplace.
    A selection of mid-century furniture pieces was curated for the spaceThis is achieved by pairing highly decorative marble surfaces with strips of white slatted blinds and tube lighting.

    “Behind Thom Browne’s signature slat blind-covered windows is a minimalist mid-century style office with rows of fluorescent tube lighting, polished with white Calcutta and Carrara marble floors, and banker grey Bardiglio and Carrara marble walls,” said the Thom Browne team.
    The store’s desaturated colour palette is reflective of the brand’s clothingAmong the furniture pieces curated to embellish the theme are a glass-topped desk placed in the centre of the room at one end and chairs that form a small seating area at the other.
    “Thom continues to outfit this space with mid-century furniture by American and French designers — including seating and lamps by Jacques Adnet, a desk by TH Robsjohn-Gibbings, office chairs by Knoll, benches by McCobb, coffee tables by Mathieu Mategot, and display etagere’s by Maison Jansen,” the team said.
    Accessories are displayed on minimalist shelving unitsThe largely desaturated colour palette – reflective of the brand’s clothing – is interrupted by brass accessories and details on the furniture, as well as a few camel-toned garments.
    A black band wraps around the rooms at floor level, separating the grey marble on the walls from the lighter toned stone underfoot.

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    Clothes are presented on metal rails mounted on wheels, while bags, shoes, eyewear and fragrances are displayed on minimalist freestanding shelves.
    The fitting rooms are hidden behind doors covered in the same material as the walls so that they blend in seamlessly when closed.
    The store is located in the historic Yeon Building on Jackson SquareThom Browne founded his label in 2001 with five suits in a small by-appointment shop in New York City’s West Village, and eventually expanded to include ready-to-wear and accessories lines for both men and women.
    Browne’s Autumn Winter 2022 collection was an ode to toys and featured sculptural tailoring, presented at New York Fashion Week in front of an audience of 500 teddy bears.
    The photography is courtesy of Thom Browne.

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    BC designs Francis Gallery LA to celebrate Korean art and culture

    Gallerist Rosa Park has opened a space in Los Angeles to showcase the work of Korean artists and designers, with interiors by local studio BC intended to reflect the country’s visual culture.

    Francis Gallery LA is Park’s second location and is an expansion of her original gallery in Bath, UK – both presenting the work of emerging Korean artists.
    Places of worship informed the interiors of the gallery on Melrose AvenueSituated on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, the new space was designed with Lindsey Chan and Jerome Byron, founders of LA-based BC.
    The duo preserved the building while transforming the inside with references to traditional Korean architecture and art.
    The inaugural exhibition displays the work of six artists, including photography by Koo BohnchangThese include a curved partition wall influenced by a moon jar and a contemporary re-interpretation of a hanok courtyard.

    “The space was conceived to pay homage to Korean art and design in subtle ways – whether it was in the curve of a partition wall, the colour palette of the interior paints, or the profile of a low bench in the courtyard,” said Park.
    BC designed the gallery to be pared-back yet warmPlaces of worship like chapels and monasteries were also referenced in the design. These were accentuated by the use of “humble materials” and pared-back forms.
    Although minimal, the intention was to ensure the gallery still felt warm and inviting, as well as provide an appropriate setting for the pieces on show.
    Rahee Yoon’s translucent acrylic blocks are among the works on show”I think this emotional connection to a space, to a work, is central to what I’m doing with Francis,” Park said.
    “It was of great importance to me that the space acted as the ideal framework to house works that I hope will move people.”

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    The inaugural exhibition at Francis Gallery LA is titled Morning Calm, on view until 7 January 2023, and features the work of six artists of Korean descent.
    Bo Kim, John Zabawa, Koo Bohn Chang, Nancy Kwon, Rahee Yoon and Song Jaeho are all at different stages in their careers.
    An abstract painting by John Zabawa hangs on a dark wallTheir painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics all explore Korean identity in an international context and offer insights into the artists’ cultural heritage.
    “With Los Angeles being home to the largest Korean community in the United States and Park having roots in both Seoul and LA, the debut show seeks to explore the nuanced connections between the two places,” said a statement from the gallery.
    References to Korean architecture at the gallery include a contemporary interpretation of a traditional hanok courtyardLA’s art scene has grown exponentially over the past decade, and the city is now home to many new galleries and exhibition spaces.
    Well-known names that have opened their own locations there include Hauser & Wirth and The Future Perfect, while others like Marta are using modernist buildings like Neutra’s VDL II House to exhibit.
    The photography is by Rich Stapleton.

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