Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

2/19/2016

It'll take more than a subway line

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Op-ed pieces are a different kind of animal for journalists. Where one is about balanced views, the other is more about taking a stand and making your opinions heard. Here's my latest on building better connections for all of LA's different neighborhoods. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Matthew Fleisher
Published: 5 Feb 2016, Los Angeles Times

 his 2013 book, “Happy City,” urban theorist Charles Montgomery argues that car-dependent suburban sprawl makes people feel isolated and unhappy, and that a well-designed city is one that enables people to live connected lives.

“The most important psychological effect of the city is the way in which it moderates our relationships with other people," he writes. Densely populated cities that encourage people to walk or take public transportation and offer a mix of housing types enable more personal interaction and thus, human contact.

Bluntly put, Los Angeles’ sprawl doesn’t do it any favors in the happy department. The city’s iconic freeways were intended to ease travel from one neighborhood to another but instead have created siloed neighborhoods. Great gems of neighborhoods, yes, but separated by gray concrete ribbons.

Crossing those barriers can be an epic undertaking. [read more]

What does the future hold for Los Angeles? If these guys get their way, it could be a greener, more agricultural future that bodes well for everyone. Here's a sneak peek at what could be. :)

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Christine Grillo

Drive through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, and Chinatown and one can see a glimpse of gritty Los Angeles. Industrial warehouses and low-income housing dot the roadways as the Los Angeles River, freeways and train tracks slice through the neighborhood. In countless movies, this landscape has always been depicted as a wasteland of concrete and grime, where things are more gray and brown.

But a new report produced by architecture firm Perkins + Will and the LA River Revitalization Corporation explores a tantalizing what-if—what if these river adjacent communities could be green instead of gray? [read more]

1/14/2016

Futureproofing

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

 Oyler Wu Collaborative design a new creative laboratory
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Sam Rogers
Published: 7 January 2016, Wallpaper*


Old meets new in Hollywood with the opening of 3DS Culinary’s new creative laboratory, designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative. 'The space was about applying 3D printing to food,' explains Jenny Wu, principal of the Los Angeles-based firm. 'We wanted to make sure that our design echoed that same theme of trying new things in terms of techniques and fabrication.' [read more]

12/15/2015

Afterglow

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Amorphis rethinks the rotunda at Oregon State University
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Sam Rogers
Published: 05 Nov 2015, Wallpaper*


Students often find their noses stuck in books or digital devices, but Afterglow, a new permanent installation at Oregon State University’s new Student Experience Centre, will give them a reason to look up and wonder. [read more]

11/20/2015

A modern spin on centuries-old glassblowing techniques

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Once again, I learn something new from talking to artisans who love their work and are making a living out of it. The Hennepin Made guys are certainly passionate about their work and they let me glimpse a little of how much work it takes to make a beautiful blown tile.

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Alice Short
Published: 14 November 2015, Los Angeles Times

Though glassblowing techniques have remained largely the same for centuries, the world's tastes have changed. Hennepin Made - cofounded by Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert - was created with a goal of updating the craft for the 21st century. (Hennepin Made)
Though glassblowing techniques have remained largely the same for centuries, the world's tastes have changed. Hennepin Made — cofounded by Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert — was created with a goal of updating the craft for the 21st century. The company has two collections; one is exclusive to Room and Board and can be purchased online or in Room and Board's stores. The second collection, the Parallel series, is available only through Hennepin Made's website.

We recently spoke with Schwartz to learn a little bit more about the craft, the company (which is based in Minneapolis), and what it takes to keep the creativity flowing. [read more]

11/16/2015

The Commission that Shaped the LA River's Bridges

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

We've all heard about the engineer that oversaw the building of many bridges that span the river, but no one ever really hears about the regular citizens that shaped its design. Here's what I've uncovered through lots of archive searching.

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Text by: Carren Jao 
Edited by: Carribean Fragoza
Published: 12 November 2015, KCET

The Fourth Street Bridge over the LA River.
June 16, 1933, Milton Coleman, a boy living in East Los Angeles cut a flower chain extending across the brand new Sixth Street Viaduct. As he did, a police band played, flags fluttered in the wind, and crowds cheered as the ribbon fell to the ground and cars eagerly made their first foray over the 56-feet wide roadway spanning 3,546 feet.

Its graceful concrete arches spanned the Los Angeles River, crossing the railroad tracks of Union Pacific and Santa Fe yards. It contains enough concrete to pave a 40-food wide street. Plans for the bridge began May 1931 and completed a few days before its opening at the cost $2,383,271. A Los Angeles Times writer hailed it as the start of a "new epoch in the development of Los Angeles transportation history."

Though the Sixth Street Viaduct of yore will soon be a thing of memory, it and its sister bridges across the Los Angeles River played a pivotal role in the making of Los Angeles. Built as part of the city's major traffic plan, the bridge was built directly in line with Wilshire Boulevard connecting the downtown business district at the heart of Los Angeles to the oceanside city of Santa Monica down through San Diego. At the time, Los Angeles' traffic plan was meant to ease traffic congestion caused by the tangle of street cars, railroad lines, automobile and horse-drawn traffic. The traffic plan connected streets to existing bridges and developed new bridges. By building these bridges, automobiles would be able to cross the river, while trains could still run along the river's banks. Instead of making do with cheap wooden bridges or rusty, easily manufactured iron truss structures, the city built reinforced concrete arch spans that were architectural marvels of its time.

Two pylons were once next to the two 150-foot wide, asymmetrical steel through-arch spans. A few years after opening, they were removed when it was first learned the bridge's concrete was suffering from Alkali-Silica Reaction. I USC Libraries Special Collections
Two pylons were once next to the two 150-foot wide, asymmetrical steel through-arch spans. A few years after opening, they were removed when it was first learned the bridge's concrete was suffering from Alkali-Silica Reaction. I USC Libraries Special Collections

Perhaps most notably, their presence in the city landscape enhanced Los Angeles' beauty and were testaments to this young city's grand ambition to establish itself as an attractive metropolis the likes of its more well-established counterparts on the east coast. Their graceful curves and architectural details (ranging from Neoclassical, Spanish Colonial, Streamline Moderne and Gothic Revival styles) gave the then- millions of people traveling to and from the city by train something to delight in. Many bridges even included concrete benches and balconies where pedestrians could rest and ponder the world while gazing onto the panorama of the city, mountains and what was once an un-concretized river.

Lauded for their beauty, the bridges were intentionally made to inspire civic pride. This aspiration was shepherded by the citizen-driven Los Angeles Municipal Art Commission. "It has been discovered that Los Angeles is not as beautiful a city as natural advantages warrant, and it is proposed to form a commission that will eradicate many of the defects," notes a 1903 Los Angeles Times article. Though the commission was first created to enhance the city's beauty, eventually it would come to play a much more significant role. [read more]

11/13/2015

Small Cosmetics Shaking Up Beauty in a Big Way

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I'm not a makeup person because I already have a huge bag. I didn't need to weigh it down even more, but these two founders have found a way around that. Thank goodness. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carolyn Horwitz
Published: October 2015, Entrepreneur

Image credit: Ewan Burns

It’s one of life’s great mysteries: Why do women carry such huge purses? One major culprit is distended makeup bags filled with forgotten tubes of lipstick, aging mascara and gloppy concealer.

Cosmetics startup Stowaway aims to change that. Launched last February in New York City, Stowaway is looking to shake up the $60 billion makeup industry with a line of undersize cosmetics designed to go wherever the busy, modern woman goes. “Seventy percent of the makeup market is controlled by 10 conglomerates like LVMH and L’OrĂ©al,” explains co-founder and CEO Julie Fredrickson. “They haven’t changed since the 1950s, but our lives have changed dramatically.” [read more]

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