Architects, designers and artists will transform historic, hidden spaces into site-specific, future-forward, interactive pieces of art in a celebration of downtown Los Angeles from March 10 to 19. Each installation will aim to “embrace Los Angeles’ ever-evolving cultural landscape,” for a self-guided experience that will lead visitors through downtown L.A. districts, including the Historic Core, Broadway and Bunker Hill. The project, called SKYLINE, is sponsored by Arts Brookfield, which organizes free public cultural experiences, and produced by nonprofit LERATA (Laboratory for Experimentation and Research in Art, Technology and Architecture).
EAL discussed the program with Melissa Urcan, SKYLINE director.
Who are some of the designers and architects participating in Skyline?
Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand; Steve Lee (Aprilli Design Studio) and Meredith Sattler; Ila Berman; Mona El Khafif (ScaleShift) and Marcella Del Signore (X-Topia); Ben Juckes; Alexandra Schioldager; Yan Krymsky (Yazdani Studio); Noam Saragost and more.
Can you tell us about some of the spaces being transformed?
SKYLINE transforms hidden yet unique spaces, such as the concourse level at Bunker HIll’s Bank of America Plaza (the fifth tallest building in Los Angeles, completed in 1974 and designed by AC Martin & Associates), being sponsored by Arts Brookfield. What is part of the open elevated walkway access, or pedways, the concourse at B of A Plaza is most often used by commercial tenants passing through—though it has some lovely spatial qualities beyond this service purpose—and it is also connected to a outdoor fountain in the round with amazing echo acoustics.
The installation by Steve Lee and Meredith Sattler, called “Lumibolic,” does a wonderful job of transforming this throughway into an architectural event, one that will be more engaging once interactive with people and sounds during the SKYLINE event. This installation creates a unique experience for those who regularly pass through, and also those who will be coming to the space, likely for the first time, during the SKYLINE event. Incidentally, when it was constructed as Security Pacific Plaza, Bank of America Plaza was unique for downtown Los Angeles, in that its four sides each faced true north, south, east and west.
What does this exhibit say about the changing design landscape in downtown L.A.?
Ten years ago, proposing a nighttime event in the financial district and Bunker Hill would have likely been laughed at. Today, people are actually willing to walk and take the Metro—and at night! What would normally be a dead zone after 5 p.m. now will come alive with art, new architecture, and of course, people. SKYLINE is happy to be part of this transformation in providing nighttime cultural events in areas of the city still seen as quiet or less traveled.