Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

7/06/2015

Manila's a Thriller

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I love it when I get the chance to talk about Manila. It's a wonderful city that might be hard to love for some, but I love its chaotic creative scene, not to mention its residents' experimental tendencies. Here's a look at the city I grew up in!

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Lydia Bell
Published: June 2015, Raffles Magazine

I'm officially a fan of Rosten's work. Here he is on the second phase of his project on the Bowtie Parcel, this time using a visitor's ears to engage them in the landscape. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 30 June 2015, Artbound


Sandwiched between the rail, the river, and the freeway, the Bowtie Parcel can seem like an uncomplicated landscape that simply unfolds before its visitors, but it is more than that, as designer Rosten Woo proves with his audio tour of the Bowtie Parcel, unveiled recently.

On the surface, little seems to have changed within the post-industrial site. Clumps of grass, gravel and graffiti still litter the land, interrupted every so often by site-specific installations by local artists. Though it seems nothing more could be said of the land, Woo shows us there is. "There's so much in urban life that you can see, but without any context," explains Woo of his medium.

Woo's first phase began with a set of signage modeled after the familiar ones found in parks. This second phase, which was also possible through an ongoing collaboration between arts organization Clockshop and the California State Parks, who owns the property, and with additional support by Play the LA River and the California State Parks Foundation, follows up that impulse by creating a near invisible, yet more intimate experience of the landscape by using a visitor's ears. "It's designed to make the most sense when you're standing right there and seeing the different vistas," says Woo. [read more]

6/08/2015

L.A. on the Verge: LA River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

The river is undoubtedly hot property right now and so many changes are in store for it. Check out this great roundup I wrote for Los Angeles magazine. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Matthew Segal
Published: June 2015, Los Angeles

Here's a quick peek at the issue contents. Check out the print copy!



It's hard not to salivate at the season's latest styles, but that want comes with an ecological cost, I've found. Most clothes are manufactured in less than ecologically-ideal circumstances, but Reformation is trying to change all that. Thank goodness!

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

Eco-friendly and irresistible: Reformation’s Yael Aflalo. Image credit: Stephanie Gonot
It wasn’t fresh mist swirling about the air in Dongguan, China—it was toxins. “You couldn’t even see toward the end of the block because the pollution was on eye level,” says Yael Aflalo, who once designed clothing for Urban Outfitters and now runs Reformation, a fast-fashion line that’s rejiggering the notoriously pollutive apparel industry. “All these dresses I was making for Urban Outfitters, they were all made out of fossil fuels.”  [read more]

Marshall McLuhan is famous for saying "the medium is the message." In Billy's case, the medium is most certainly part of the message. By using soft, welcoming felt in rendering typically edgy, hard, and abrasive objects, he asks his audience to re-evaluate what's in front of them. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 26 May 2015, Artbound


The Los Angeles River is hard, grimy, rugged, straight-jacketed with so much concrete that tames its wayward water flow. But inside the walls of Los Angeles County Store, it becomes a plush paradise thanks to felt artist Billy Kheel.

"I've been going to the river for 10 to 15 years now, since I've been in Los Angeles," says Kheel. "In the last five years, so many changes have come to the river. It's an interesting turning point in time where you can see the history of this concrete channel, but also its future as a managed wetland with gastropubs and apartment buildings. I thought it would be a great time to freeze the scene and investigate the river bottom." [read more]

5/19/2015

Scents and Sensibility

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Last year, I went on a trip to the Old World and found some incredible things, including Santa Maria Novella, a perfumery whose history goes back centuries. It just goes to show you that businesses aren't just start-ups that can succeed or fail at a drop of a hat, it can be something that endures. 

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How This Historic Perfumery Is Innovating
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Jenna Schnuer
Published: May 2015, Entrepreneur

Image credit: Aaron Graubart
A whiff of something sweet hangs in the air at Via della Scala in Florence, Italy. It could be the cabbage rose, a flower that grows on the hills of Tuscany; orange blossoms from the trees of Sicily; or perhaps it is the heady smell of success for a company that traces its roots back several centuries.

Just a few steps from the city’s main train station sits Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (SMN), a 400-year-old perfume and beauty-product company that grew from the methods Dominican friars once used to cultivate medicinal herbs for a convent infirmary. Though SMN’s operations have expanded past these halls (there’s now a factory just three miles away), the company preserved its original premises, including its vaulted ceilings and frescoes. Still, says commercial director Gianluca FoĆ , SMN is not “just a museum. We’re an innovative company competing in an international market.” [read more]

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the world. How do I know? I've seen proof of it last month when I took part in artist Pedro Reyes's People's United Nations, an effort to bring together people from all corners of the world who live in Los Angeles as laymen reps of their respective countries. Our goal? Fix the world, make it a better place. 

It was an amazing feeling to walk into a crowd and see that all sizes, shapes and backgrounds were represented. It's a thing of beauty, an artwork in itself. 

~*C
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 12 May 2015, Artbound

Pedro Reyes, The People's United Nations (pUN), 2015. Event at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, May 2-3, 2015. | Photo: Lili Soto.
Early this year, the Hammer Museum announced a bold initiative: to gather the world within a room for a weekend with the express purpose of solving our global problems. Called the People's United Nations, the movement is an art project conceived by Mexico-born artist Pedro Reyes for the Hammer Museum.

On a recent Saturday, 190 delegates currently in Los Angeles hailing from 140 countries around the world, joined together to engage in a cross-cultural conversation.

One of those delegates was me, representing the Philippines.

I signed up, blindly, knowing that at the very least I would get to see what I only glimpsed on trains and buses in Los Angeles, the diversity of faces that make up the mosaic we call this city. My wish came true. [read more]

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