Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Walk on the wild side

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Cities are devoid of wildlife, no matter how hard we try. This new effort tries to bring conservation issues to the city by building one of the largest wildlife corridors in the world, here in Los Angeles. 

The multimillion-dollar freeway crossing aiming to give California's cougars the space they need
Published: 16 July 2015, Guardian UK
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Mike Herd

A remote camera captures a radio collared cougar in Griffith Park. Photograph: Steve Winter/Getty Images/National Geographic
Santa Monica’s mountain lions are hemmed in on all sides by highways, the ocean and open fields – leading to road deaths and in-breeding. A lush overpass spanning 10 freeway lanes would allow them to roam freely and safely [read more]


Civil Rights Apostle

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Last month, I got the chance to write about one of the most fascinating figures in graphic design in LA history, Sister Corita. A nun and an activist, Sister Corita drew from mass media, literature, and religion and mixed them all in beautiful ways, drawing out messages of hope at a time of great upheaval in American history. So glad I got a chance to share this extensive exhibition of her work in Pasadena. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Avinash Rajagopal 
Published: July 2015, Metropolis

A new masterplan for the LA River...or at least, a revised one. It's big news for the city, but the problem is, not a lot of people were in the loop. Is it the way to go? I don't know, but I do know that the dust this kicked up only emphasizes how important the river is becoming to the city. 

Text by: Carren Jao 
Edited by: Carribean Fragoza
Published: 20 August 2015, KCET

Concrete-based hydrological architecture is part of the L.A. riverscape. | Photo: Magda Wojdyra/Flickr/Creative Commons
The Los Angeles River isn't just a waterway wrapped in concrete. In the decades since tons of gloomy gray matter was poured over this wild river, it has morphed from a derelict, forgotten watercourse, good only for film shootings of dystopian futures and rebellious countercultures, into a symbol of hope yet to be realized.

As with many things yet to take on solid form, the Los Angeles River has become a symbol, for all the things that Los Angeles might become in the next few decades. It has become a mirror of everyone's dreams. As such, it has birthed a fractured and multi-layered vision of what the Los Angeles River could be.

If you need further proof of the LA River's symbolic power, look no further than the recent brouhaha over the Los Angeles Times exclusive, which revealed that local starchitect Frank Gehry has been tapped by the Mayor's office and the Los Angeles River Revitalization to rebrand the river. [read more]


Comeback Story

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

When a piece of the past is recovered, it's like a precious memory has been remembered. Here's a piece I did on the Hollyhock house, a beautiful dwelling and a neighborhood spot that has re-opened to the public this year! Best of all, I wrote it for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, whose work has saved many of these beautiful pieces of America's past.

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Meghan Drueding
Published: May 2015, Preservation


Solving Animal Gridlock

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Humans aren't the only ones with a traffic problem. As urban life extends, it sometimes impinges on the established transportation routes of some beautiful creatures. Here's my piece on the bestial traffic jam in Los Angeles. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Nancy Miller
Published: August 2015, Los Angeles

LA has a native plant shortage and a wealth of projects that require exactly this type of plants. What to do? A creative solution being proposed now is a network of nurseries that will not only provide native plants, but green jobs for the city. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Yosuke Kitazawa
Published: 23 July 2015, KCET

Image: Grown in L.A./Mia Lehrer + Associates
One key feature in every Los Angeles River-adjacent project is the use of native plants. It's a good feature, but hardly anyone ever stops to wonder, "Where does Los Angeles get all those plants?" It turns out, sometimes those native plants are shipped from San Diego, or even as far as Oregon. It's native, in a sense, but not really.

"We need to be creating a viable, native source, locally collected native plant material intead of farming it out to these other areas," says Kat Superfisky, a project designer for Mia Lehrer + Associates.

Los Angeles has ambitious plans to restore an eleven-mile stretch of its previously neglected waterway, plus many more water conserving projects are coming online in a city gripped with drought. A key feature in all of these are native plants, which are quickly dwindling in supply, an issue we've covered previously.

Now, a widespread collaborative of federal and state agencies, non-profits, and private firms have come together to solve the Los Angeles Rivers' native plant supply problem, in an initiative called Grown in L.A. [read more]


David Wiseman's nature-inspired pieces

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Nature is undoubtedly beautiful and capturing it is a tough challenge. Artist David Wiseman gamely meets this difficult obstacle and surpasses expectations. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Alice Short
Published: 30 May 2015, Los Angeles Times

Wiseman at work on his installation for the library. via New York Times
Entering one of David Wiseman's immersive installations is like discovering the beautiful landscape of Narnia inside an austere wardrobe, guaranteed to elicit wonder and even a creeping belief in magic.

The Los Angeles-based designer has made a name for himself by creating painstakingly crafted pieces that range from limited-edition small objects to intricate worlds of flora and fauna, using materials as diverse as porcelain and metal. [read more]

Get updates via RSS