Over the course of six months, Los Angeles-based photographer Andy Romanoff will explore the daily life of the Pacific Design Center for an upcoming exhibition entitled “Seeing the PDC."
Romanoff first brought this idea to the attention of Charles S. Cohen, president and owner of the Pacific Design Center, and Helen Varola, curator for the DesignLAb, in November of last year. He suggested that he spend a year photographing the building, examining the space, the light and the life—everything from the building itself to the tenants, staff, visitors and events within.
Romanoff’s project began on May 1 and will culminate in November with an exhibition in B255—a space that currently doubles as his studio. Visitors of the DesignLAb are invited to view his work-in-progress.
Editor at Large spoke with Romanoff about his inspiration for this exhibition.
Editor at Large: How did you come up with this idea?
Andy Romanoff: I first started to think about the PDC when I was invited to show at a gallery there a few years back. The more time I spent in the buildings the more I wanted to document what I was experiencing. About a year ago, I started work on a proposal to spend an extended amount of time immersed in the buildings to see if I could bring what I was seeing and feeling to life.
EAL: What was your initial impression the first time you entered the building?
AR: From the first moment I walked in I was struck by the scale and the quality of the surroundings. I felt the PDC was a modern-day palace devoted to beauty and craftsmanship, a living museum of texture and color. I was astonished that I had lived so long in LA without knowing what was inside these buildings. And the more I talked with others the more I realized the buildings were also a mystery to them—and that fascinated me.
EAL: How does this project fit into what you do as an artist?
AR: I was looking for a big project, something that would stretch me as an artist and a person. I felt the PDC was well suited to the vision I had. My work spans a number of categories and the PDC is big and complex, a place where I could shoot architecture and light and beauty and people all within a single space and where I could hopefully make the kind of impressionistic images I love.
Pictures by Andy Romanoff as he goes through the motions of creating the exhibition
EAL: What do you think people will feel when they see the final result?
AR: I think most people see the PDC as a monolith, a giant multicolored “thing.” I wanted to give them a better sense of the diversity, the manifold spaces within the buildings and the life that goes on in them. It seems to me there are only a few buildings in the world so concentrated on the display of art, beauty and craftsmanship. If I can make that visible to people I will be happy.
EAL: What do you hope the finished product will be like. What's your overall vision?
AR: My vision is a kaleidoscope, a multi-imaged display that opens the PDC for all the people who have ever seen the exterior and asked, “I wonder what goes on in there?”