On a blistering hot June day, close to 60 cycling, urbanism, and art enthusiasts rolled en masse to studios and galleries from Highland Park to Chinatown, ending at Golden Dragon restaurant for some well-earned bao. One again our route and rentals were handled by the great folks at Flying Pigeon LA. After briefing the riders on basic safety and general rules-of-the-road, shop owner Josef “Joe” Bray-Ali guided the group to the first stop in Lincoln Heights: Artist and furniture designer Matt Gagnon. Originally trained as an architect, a stint working with Frank Gehry nurtured Matt’s love for designing and fabricating furniture. His material palette ranges from ceramics to fiber to wood and he’s composed a gallery of models and prototypes of both conceptual and built work against the backdrop of a hand-built, 12-foot wooden screen composed of small bricks of teak.
Fun fact: Matt is a design-n-dim sum bike ride veteran, so we were especially excited to see his space!
The next stop was landscape architect, urban planner and conservation advocate Mia Lehrer’s new LA River digs. The converted warehouse offers clear views of river levels and the downtown skyline beyond. You may recognize her notable public work; her parks are ubiquitous across LA. But the new location keeps her close to “her baby,” to the LA River. On the MLA books are projects including the new NFL stadium in Inglewood; a park outside City Hall; and a native-plant network of nurseries. The common theme through all these is the responsible treatment of water. We’re extremely grateful to everyone from MLA studio for spending such a great afternoon with us, and the security team who kept our bikes safe while we enjoyed the experience!
Just down the road from MLA studio, we toured studio and gallery space 356 Mission, which Bloomberg recently called “the most interesting gallery in LA right now.” The ground-level gallery was filled not with physical pieces, but the sound installation, “Magic Mountain,” which featured a looped piano tuning session emitting from an unmanned piano. And in the basement, Lutz Bacher’s spiky foam sculptural work was central in a 360-degree multi-media experience. The gallery also houses Ooga Booga’s second outpost, Ooga Twooga.
The last leg of the ride along excellently designated bike paths in DTLA and Chinatown brought us to our much anticipated lunch at Golden Dragon restaurant. The air conditioned restaurant felt almost as good as the pork bellies and spring rolls in our stomachs!
Thanks to everyone who joined us for one of the best rides we’ve had to date, and to the Los Angeles Design Festival for asking us to participate!