Monday, April 17, 2017

Pitch your project for Making LA Together

Deadline extended to Wednesday, May 10 at 5pm!

In 2015, design east of La Brea was honored to receive its second ArtWorks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for our Making LA series. The first phase of Making LA explored the Los Angeles issues of Transportation, Water, Density and Community through a series of public programs, culminating in the Making LA conference in fall of 2014.

In early 2016 we launched the second phase—Making LA: Connect, Flourish, Thrive, Prosper—with the plan to build upon our successful programming series at a design charrette to craft proposals for real-world solutions to issues facing LA.

Then we had a presidential election.

As a proposed budget seeks to completely eliminate federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, we realized that charrettes and proposals would not be enough. The de LaB community is made up of designers, architects, and artists who are out in the city working hard on real-world solutions today. We want to amplify your efforts and bring four projects—your projects—to life.

We want to show the powerful impact that the NEA has on our cities by empowering four projects that help LA connect, flourish, thrive, and prosper.

On Saturday, June 10, Making LA Together will feature teams pitching projects in front of a live audience that address issues of Transportation, Water, Density, and Community in Los Angeles. A panel of experts will ask questions and offer commentary about the projects, and the audience will vote for the best project in each of the four areas. We’ll work to make the winning ideas happen with a project fee of $2500 and the help of volunteers from the de LaB community. In addition to workshops and volunteer days, de LaB will also host four programs to introduce the public to each of the four completed projects.

Making LA Together will be held on the evening of Saturday, June 10 at City Market South, a brand-new creative space located in one of LA’s oldest produce markets, as part of the Los Angeles Design Festival. Here are more details about the event.

How to apply

Deadline extended to Wednesday, May 10 at 5pm! Fill out this brief form telling us about your project, including a 200-word description and which area your project addresses (Transportation, Water, Density, or Community).

When you submit your form, email *one* image of your project (can be a rendering, photo, drawing, sketch) to hello @

Finalists selected to present at Making LA Together will be announced by Friday, May 12 and asked to prepare a 5-minute, fast-pitch presentation with visuals onstage at the Making LA Together event. (Think Project Runway meets Shark Tank).


What kind of projects are you looking for?

Show us how NEA’s funding can solve a problem and create real-world change for an LA community east of La Brea. The only real qualification is that the project must address one of the challenge areas (Transportation, Water, Density, or Community) and be easily replicable elsewhere in the city.

Some examples of projects might be: A wayfinding system (Transportation); a parkway stormwater garden (Water); a creative adaptation of a parking space (Density); a neighborhood mural (Community).

How many people can be on a team?

As few or as many as you like, although only two people can be onstage to present.

Can I submit multiple projects?

Team members can only work on one project.

Can it be something I’m already working on?

Definitely. We are particularly interested in projects that have already been tested elsewhere in LA and can easily be rolled out in multiple locations.

Does the project absolutely have to happen somewhere east of La Brea?

Yes—we will only look at projects that will happen east of La Brea. South of Century Boulevard that’s east of Hawthorne. North of Franklin Avenue that’s east of Vineland. Even if part of your project is east of these boundaries, we’ll accept it.

Who decides which projects are selected?

Finalists will be selected to present by de LaB’s hosts and board members. The winners in each area will be decided by a live vote from the audience at the event.

If you have a question we should answer here, send us an email at hello @

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Submit poster designs for No on S, Yes on LA

Thanks for your submissions! See all the posters here.

As members of the creative community, we love Los Angeles for its remarkable diversity, dynamic neighborhoods, and untapped potential. As residents who want to ensure that LA becomes an even more creative, sustainable, and inclusive place in the future, we are seeking your designs for posters to help defeat Measure S, a regressive initiative on the City of Los Angeles ballot on March 7, 2017.

Measure S—also known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative—would send LA backwards by blocking badly needed new housing and pricing even more Angelenos out of the city. But it’s worse than that. By preventing the new construction we need to make our city more vibrant, accessible, and affordable, Measure S sends the message that Angelenos should fear new ideas, fear progress, and fear the future.

We want to counter this campaign of fear with one of appreciation for Los Angeles as it exists and hope for what Los Angeles can become—if it is allowed to evolve and change. No on S, Yes on LA.

There is an official No on S campaign which is targeting voters with the message “Goes Too Far.” We are not working for this campaign, but we want to complement their efforts by asking LA’s creative community to create posters which residents and organizations can use to oppose Measure S. We believe that a series of designs with the theme No on S, Yes on LA can help in two ways. They can add a visual and storytelling element to a campaign about wonky planning issues. And these designs can reach beyond the city’s base of likely voters—who tend to be older, affluent homeowners—to inspire younger citizens, renters, people of color, and other marginalized groups in our neighborhoods to participate in the March elections.

We hope you are inspired to submit designs, which we plan to print as mini-posters and postcards and place them at a central location for public distribution as well as make available in digital formats for use in online activism. We look forward to seeing how you address the broad No on S, Yes on LA theme. Below are details for the call-for-submissions and some supporting research to get you started.

No on S, Yes on LA pop-up exhibition at the A+D Museum! We’re very excited to announce that the posters will be displayed in a pop-up exhibition at the A+D Museum in the Arts District. We’ll also be hosting an event there where you’ll be able to pick up lawn signs, posters, and postcards, and check out the other show at the museum, cityLAb Times 10, which explores a decade of design and research by UCLA’s cityLAb and its visionary ideas for the future of Los Angeles.

This project is co-organized by LAplus, a project of Community Partners, and design east of La Brea.

How to submit

Please submit artwork in the following format:

Size: 8.5×11″
Color: CMYK
Resolution: 300 dpi
Bleed: .25″
Format: Preferably PDF (will also accept high res JPG or TIFF files)
Images: Please make sure you have rights to any images you include in your designs
Deadline for submissions: Monday, February 20 at 12:00 pm PT (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)

Email submissions to and be sure to include the name, website, and any social media handles you’d like credited.

We will not be able to include any submissions that are not within these specifications.

If you want to spread the word, feel free to cut and paste this call for proposals onto your own site or share the link on social media.

Feel free to email with any questions.

To help inspire ideas, below is a very brief summary of what Measure S would do, as well as examples of topic areas that could be powerful No on S, Yes on LA messages.

What does Measure S do?

Measure S would amend city rules around planning and zoning making it harder to build new housing and neighborhood amenities. The two key changes would be to permanently ban General Plan Amendments except for large sites of 15 or more acres and place a two-year moratorium on zone changes that allow bigger or taller buildings or allow more intense (i.e. dense) use of land.

Why does this matter? LA has many out-of-date plans, and even for newer plans, it’s not possible to perfectly predict what should or should not be allowed on every one of the more than half million individual pieces of land in the city. As a result, land owners often seek zone changes and General Plan Amendments for many building projects, for example, to build housing or a mixed-use building on land zoned for industrial uses or zoned as a parking lot. Measure S also makes it harder for planners to reduce the number of parking spaces required for new buildings or new businesses in existing buildings. Perhaps most disturbing of all, if Measure S passes, it will prevent the zone changes needed to build much-needed housing around the new transit routes that Angelenos just funded when we approved Measure M by an overwhelming majority in the November elections.

Measure S worsens LA’s housing crisis

Los Angeles has a severe housing crisis. One of the main causes is that not enough housing has been built throughout the region in recent decades to meet demand from population growth. This under-building has led to ultra-low vacancy rates that let owners charge high rents. The housing shortage cascades down to inflict real suffering, from homelessness to high rents to overcrowding and displacement. (1) Measure S would intensify the crisis by blocking construction of many new homes. Measure S supporters claim that LA doesn’t need new market-rate or “luxury” housing, but the truth is, we need all types of new housing. Without enough housing stock, rents rise and wealthy residents outbid lower-income Angelenos for existing housing causing displacement and gentrification. (2)

Here’s an illustration of how little housing we’ve built in the last 25 years:

(See more at Abundant Housing LA’s post “Don’t Call It a Boom: Despite Uptick, LA Still Adding New Housing At a Snail’s Pace.”)

Measure S cripples LA’s future

The way that Angelenos live, work, and move continuously evolves due to technological change, social and cultural transformation, and generational shifts. While change is never without friction, LA residents signaled that they welcome smart growth, green infrastructure, and more equity by voting overwhelmingly in November to fund new transit, new parks, and affordable housing. (3) The evolution of the city can allow LA to adapt to climate change, pioneer new forms of mobility and welcome new industries. (4) Many of these new, more sustainable systems will be created lot-by-lot as buildings are remodeled or constructed. Measure S would slow this process and undermine public investments by freezing many developments and prioritizing letters on zoning maps over real-world improvements.

Measure S builds a wall

Los Angeles’ strength is its diversity. LA is home to people from many backgrounds, a mix of longtime residents and newcomers, and welcomes tens of millions of visitors annually. (5) The city is built upon its reputation as a place where people can come to pursue their dreams. Measure S threatens this openness and diversity by blocking new housing and smarter use of land, which makes it harder for existing residents to stay in the city and for people to relocate to LA; if we don’t build enough housing to meet the demand, everything will continue to get more expensive. Especially at a time when the federal government is seeking to target immigrants and build a physical wall, we need our progressive cities to be welcoming places for all.

Measure S is for LA haters

Los Angeles is big, diverse, place. It isn’t as “picturesque” as some older cities, but this sense of being unfinished, informal, and laid-back is what makes LA conducive to many dreams and to different ways of living. Los Angeles is sometimes frustrating, sometimes ugly, but also inspiring, and full of possibilities. At its heart, Measure S is selfish and prescriptive, the opposite of the best that LA has to offer. Measure S is on the ballot because one man didn’t want the views from his office tower blocked by a new building, and so he diverted money from the AIDS nonprofit he runs to fund anti-growth advocates who oppose new transit, new housing, and new ways of inhabiting LA. (6) Don’t let these LA haters hijack our city.

Statistics & sources

(1) More than 28,000 people in the City of Los Angeles are homeless. (Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, 2016). There are approximately 50,000 unpermitted second units on single family houses properties in LA city and thousands more unpermitted living units in apartments and industrial sites. (Vinit Mukhija, UCLA). Nearly 100,000 households live in severely overcrowded conditions and another 100,000 in overcrowded dwellings. (City of LA Housing Element). 60% of LA households are “rent burdened” under the federal definition of spending more than 30% of their income on housing, and a third of residents spend more than half of their income on rent. (NYU Furman Center, Affordable Rental Housing Landscape). Between 2006 to 2014, 350,000 young people in LA County delayed forming their own household due to high housing costs (Dowell Myers, USC). LA is 3rd in the nation in the percentage of Millennial residents who moved out of the area in the past decade. (, Millennial population trends).

(2) In an average year approximately 20% of new homes permitted in the City of LA used a zone change and/or general plan amendment. This share is growing, in 2015, over 60 percent of proposed new dwellings (approximately 9000 homes) sought these changes. (Beacon Economic, Measure S Economic Policy Analysis). Developments that Measure S would block are built on empty or underused land and displace almost no one. 2015 projects seeking general plan amendments would create over 1000 new homes for every 1 demolished and projects seeking zone changes create/demolish new housing with a 100 to 1 ratio. If Measure S passes, some of the demand for housing will be transferred from underused properties to existing smaller apartments; this type of development creates 5 new units for every 1 unit demolished- a much higher ratio of displacement. (Mark Vallianatos, Abundant Housing LA)

(3) County Measure M to expand and improve transit; County Measure A to expand and maintain parks and open space; City Measure HHH to build permanent supportive housing for the homeless and low-income affordable housing, and City Measure JJJ to require developments receiving zone changes to include affordable housing.

(4) The City of LA is planning to source more water locally and reduce per-capita consumption of water; increase local solar power generation and energy storage; reduce energy use per square foot in buildings by 30%, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80%; create many more green jobs; install cool roofs and shade; and reduce asthma cases in low-income communities to advance environmental justice. (Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn 2015). Researchers at UCLA have mapped out more aggressive goals to achieve 100% renewable energy and local water sourcing and better integrate natural landscapes into LA’s built environment by 2050. (UCLA, Grand Challenges, Sustainable LA.)

(5) Over 70% of residents of the City of LA are non-white; 37% of residents were born outside of the U.S.; 60 percent live in a household where a language other than English is spoken at home, at least 185 languages are spoken in LA. (United States Census). Despite the challenge of pricey housing, LA city’s population grew by 50,000 between in 2015 to surpass 4 million for the first time. (California Department of Finance, Population Estimates, 2016). 47.3 million tourists/visitors traveled to the city of LA in 2016, the most ever. (Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.)

(6) AIDS Healthcare Foundation Head Michael Weinstein sponsored Measure S because he disliked new development in Hollywood. (LA Weekly, Michael Weinstein Might Have Diagnosed What’s Wrong With L.A. — But Can He Fix It?, April 4, 2016); Weinstein’s spending on the ballot measure has been criticized by other LGBQT leaders. (Coalition to Preserve LA Neighborhoods and Jobs, How Much HIV/AIDS Care $$$ Will Michael Weinstein Spend on Banning Housing?, January 13, 2017); Yes on S campaign director Jill Stewart defends driving, is opposed to expanding transit and thinks urban planners who develop plans to allow density near transit are ‘snotty’ and elitist. (Planning Report, Stewart: Neighborhood Integrity Initiative Is LA’s Response to Unplanned Density and Insider Deals, February 16, 2016).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thanks for another great year! Here’s what we did in 2016

As we begin 2017, we want to thank the de LaB community for its continued support, enthusiasm, and wisdom. We couldn’t continue to plan these events without you! 2016 was another momentous year for us. We kicked off our second Artworks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, funding the first half of our Making LA programming. The series, entitled “Making LA: Connect, Flourish, Thrive, Prosper,” focuses on the issues of Transportation, Water, Density and Community. Stay tuned for some big announcements this year as we head into the second half of our NEA-funded programming.


Look at those shiny new bikes! 🚲

A photo posted by de LaB (@de_lab) on

In the meantime, here are some of our favorite people, places, and things we saw this year…

  • We started the year our favorite way – road tripping way east to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, where we, um, camped out with our friends at CAMP, the official headquarters for Modernism Week. We were treated to a full program of lectures and talks about the architecture and design of this desert oasis.
  • In March we celebrated the re-opening of the Museum of Neon Art in its permanent home in Glendale with a private tour of the 300+ restored vintage neon signs with board member Eric Lynxwiler and Garine Gabrielian of Shimoda Design Group.
  • In April we toured the galleries and artists studios of West Adams, stopping in at Ochi Projects, Martos Gallery, Claudia Parducci’s studio, non-profit gallery JOAN, Brian Wills’ studio, and at our final stop, newcomer to the neighborhood, the Landing.
  • On a cloudy morning in May, a group of about 50 Angelenos gathered under the bright Metro canopy at Mariachi Plaza to kick off our tour of Boyle Heights. Joel Garcia, an artist, cultural organizer, and director of operations of Self Help Graphics & Art, kicked off the tour that included stops at restaurant and gallery Un Solo Sol Kitchen, the Benjamin Franklin Library, ending at the plaza installation Todos Juntos with designers Siobhán Burke (Lyric Design and Planning) and Rob Berry (Berry and Linné).
  • In June the usual gloom gave way to a blisteringly hot day, but even the heat couldn’t prevent 60 bike riders from joining us en masse for a bike ride from Flying Pigeon bike shop for our annual Design-n-Dim Sum ride. This year’s route took us to artist and furniture designer Matt Gagnon’s studio, landscape architect Mia Lehrer’s new LA River digs, and gallery space 356 Mission before heading back to Chinatown for some bao at Golden Dragon.
  • In July we visited our friends from Materials & Applications for its site-specific installation TURF. Each hole in the mini golf course was created by architects and designers, exploring the ecology, economics, and social conditions of Los Angeles in a vacant Echo Park lot.
  • August brought two great events. The first was a tour of “Mast,” an inaugural temporary public art installation for Current: LA. Working with the theme of water as part of the first-ever, citywide public art biennial, designers Daveed Kapoor and Josh Callaghan were inspired by the long-running drought in Southern California and created a looming Colonial-era sailing mast.
  • Later in the month, we headed to Historic Filipino for Hidden Hi FI to explore the secret gallery of street art lurking in the alleyways with our partners at Gabba Gallery, Pilipino Workers Center, and Public Matters)
  • In October, we headed downtown for a tour of LADOT’s new Metro Bike system with Rubina Ghazarian, transportation planning associate for the newly created Mobility Division. We grabbed bikes and went on a ride (less than one hour) to check out some of the awesome bike infrastructure like separated cycle tracks, “bike boxes” that help cyclists turn, and the city’s first dedicated bike signals.
  • Later in October we were invited to contemplate the future of Silver Lake’s reservoirs. While the ongoing construction around the reservoirs have left them drained and bone-dry, our friends at Silver Lake Forward are considering ways to plan for the reservoirs’ future. Tours of the reservoir served as an opportunity to discuss the construction currently underway, as well as to think about the tremendous potential to revitalize one of Los Angeles’s most important public spaces.
  • And last but certainly not least, in December we had the opportunity to tour the the historic CBS Columbia Square project in Hollywood. With architect Bob Hale, of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, we toured the transformed city block, taking a look at the 4.7 acre complex’s new creative office spaces, multimedia studios, and newly opened Proper Hotel.

Thanks again for an amazing 2016 and we can’t wait to see you in 2017!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Our 2016 LA Design Festival Picks

The 6th annual LA Design Festival kicks off this week! Check out our top picks for some of the design events we’re marking on our calendars.  Use this special de LaB discount to get $5 off any LA Design Festival events (neighborhood and restaurant tours and house calls).  (use de LaB code LADF16VIP):

  • LA Design Festival Opening Night Party – June 9, 8-11pm
    This year’s festivities will kick off with a late night celebration of creative talent in DTLA, featuring libations by Wine Rave and First Avenue Vodka, music by dublab, custom confections by MAST Brothers, performance by No)one. Art House, and more.
  • Salon Series: Art Meets Design – June 11, 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Modern Resale hosts the first-ever Salon Series at LADF that will explore what role the interior designer and/or consumer plays in the balance; how interior designers add another level of authorship; and how we navigate and stratify these vibrant cultural expressions. You don’t want to miss this amazing panel moderated by Abigail Stone alongside speakers Delta Wright, Maryna  Hrushetska and Francis Jens Spitta.
  • The (L.A.) Mothers of Us All – June 22, 7pm
    Some the world’s most powerful global graphic design influences happen to be women who resided and worked in Los Angeles. These are our graphic design mothers who helped shape the field and gave birth to rebellious design invention. Join moderator Louise Sandhaus for a conversation with and about these gals who are the heart that continues to beat for women and for design today. RSVP here.
  • Reclaimed: Sustainability & Design Panel with Box Collective – June 19, 11am
    Members of the Los Angeles-based Box Collective discuss current and emerging practices around sustainable furniture design. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Windfall by Box Collective at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Space is limited. RSVP required:
  • INTRO/LA – June 24-26
    INTRO/LA returns to LA Design Festival for a second year, providing an alternative experience to the standard design trade show environment by integrating a series of design installations into one cohesive exhibit. Swing by the historic Mack Sennett studios in Silver Lake and check out the impressive line up of designers, including Brendan Ravenhill Studio, WAKA WAKA, wrk-shp studio, Tom Dixon, A+R, and more. Details here.
  • TURF Tournament – June 26, 5pm
    Don’t miss out on an afternoon of playful rivalry, tasty food, and summer cocktails! Hosted by LA Design Festival and Materials & Applications, the tournament will feature a competitive play-off between sponsoring Los Angeles architecture and design offices in M&A’s pop-up mini-golf course east of Los Angeles River. The mini-golf course features architectural obstacles designed by nine local and international teams Besler & Sons, G!LL!S, HeyDay, Knowhow Shop, Kyle May, Endemic, Ordinary Architecture, TAG-LA and more. Grab some friends and colleagues and sign up your team here.

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