Travel and Change of Place = New Vigor

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A remarkable ‘sconce’ at the Blackman Cruz showroom

How is it that the Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC – AD 65) would know what a good idea it would be for me to go to the 10th Design Leadership Summit in Los Angeles when he said;

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 “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

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As it turns out my weeklong trip to the city of angels was extraordinary, and indeed I have new vigor!

The DLS was scheduled for mid-week so I gave myself a few days before and after the conference to snoop around, and do some shopping in LA. Having spent three decades in New York City (a place where space of any sort is a premium), visiting vast shopping venues was mind-blowing. Here are 3 of my favorites.

 

LIEF

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LEIF is a second generation store in West Hollywood run by 2 brothers Stephen and Michael, and named for their father Leif Aarestrup.

The store continues a family tradition of seeking out unique and extraordinary pieces, many from Sweden and Denmark. The brothers were raised in intensely creative and magical home environments in both Scandinavia and Southern California, places that continue to inspire them as they resource and reinvent LEIF with objects ranging from the Baroque to Modern – “Beauty is everywhere, surrounding ourselves by it should be a life long pursuit.”

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from my visit.

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'Aeris' chairs developed by Lief - suitable for indoors, or outdoors; made of teak or mahogany

‘Aeris’ chairs developed by Lief – suitable for indoors, or outdoors; made of teak or mahogany

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BLACKMAN CRUZ

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BLACKMAN CRUZ is an extraordinary venue on Highland Avenue that reflects the combined and distinct visions of its founders Adam Blackman and David Cruz. Shy and demure are words that DO NOT come to mind when describing their highly curated collection of intriguing objects and design. The 9,000 square foot shop (with a front room with 20 foot ceilings) is set up with countless multi-layered vignettes, both small and large, that combine, compare, and juxtapose.

Here are some of the things that caught my eye.

Pair of French Barrel Back Arm Chairs; Puzzle Table BC Studio, brass & glass; Bakalowits and Sohne Miracle Chandelier c.1960 glass rods, nickel-plated brass

Pair of French Barrel Back Arm Chairs; Puzzle Table BC Studio, brass & glass; Bakalowits and Sohne Miracle Chandelier c.1960 glass rods, nickel-plated brass

 

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JF CHEN

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JF CHEN was started forty years ago (who knew?) on Melrose Avenue by owner and tastemaker Joel Chen. His shop offers a remarkable amount of furniture and decorative arts from disparate periods – masterwork pieces of the twentieth and twenty first centuries — in three venues totalling more than 30,000 square feet, housing collections of museum quality furniture, lighting, accessories and art.

Always ahead of the trends, Chen has the eye and intellectual rigor of a curator; his passion and appreciation for fine design have made him a source of inspiration for collectors, decorators, museums, and others in the design and creative industries. On my way out I was given a business card from a young woman who it turns out is the daughter of the founder – another family tradition  in the making!

There were so many pieces I could envision myself sourcing for clients — here are a few of my favorites.

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What I also found particularly interesting was the way each of these 3 venues reflect the diverse sensibilities of their owners — that and the differences in scale that seem in line with the kinds of spacious and airy homes people inhabit in California. 

I’m already looking forward to my next trip!

 

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