Archive for ‘Community’ Category

A Sign of Change – SunAmerica Wipes the AIG From Its Face!

Posted by Robert Weitz on May 5, 2009 10:48 AM

More changes in our neighborhood! The AIG SunAmerica sign that looked so very temporary to brand designers like ourselves has come down! The change has come, and now the tacky temporary sign that represented billions and billions of dollars is down. So, what’s next?

AIG SunAmerica

As we watch old established structures crumble, we inevitably wonder: What’s going to fill the void? The jokes have been flying around our studio—what three letters should take its place? IOU? PIG?

If you have any ideas, let us know and we’ll use our digital magic to add our favorite to a future post!

The Annenberg Space for Photography – Not a Museum!

Posted by Robert Weitz on April 24, 2009 10:28 AM

We have a new neighborhood community center! It’s not what you are imagining—it doesn’t have basketball hoops or a pool. And while the councilman who brokered the deal, the developer and the Annenberg Foundation would probably like you to imagine that The Annenberg Space for Photography serves a wide range of citizens, it is smack dab in the middle of “the land of lawyers, CPAs and bankers” called Century City.

The Annenberg Space for Photography

That complaint out of the way, I really love the fact that I can walk over to this incredible exhibition space for photography, take in a show, snap a few pictures and be back in time for tea! I think the building is beautiful. It is sited in horizontal juxtaposition to the now almost stately twin Century Plaza Towers. (The towers are short stubby cousins of the World Trade Center designed by Minoru Yamasaki.)

Designed by AECOM Design (formerly DMJM Design) the building is, in my opinion, a “rare bird.” It is a singularly-conceived modernist building in the style of Mies at IIT, but detailed and built in a way that could only be done in the 21st century. I was stunned by the building’s grace and presence, and was really taken with its architectural integrity and brilliant siting.

Somehow the internal space is a little less successful, although I applaud the spirit of the thing. The obvious metaphor for the interior is wrapped up in the workings of the camera optics, but I think the interior team forced the issue. The point of the “parti,” I would assume, is to provide many opportunities to live with and spend time with photographic images.

The problem for many photography exhibitions and galleries is that collections most often exceed the size of available wall space. Using various digital playback devices, the “space” (not a museum) offers some wonderfully rich opportunities to see lot of digital images. The “rotunda” of the space features super high-res 14’ x 7’ 4k screens that offer an engaging way to see photography.

Beyond the amazing digital presentation in the rotunda, there are some real misses. There is precious little space for looking at actual photographs, and the entry has a west facing window wall that is cooking and bleaching out the photos during the midday. They have attempted to use a solar shade, but the result is hot and glary to say the least.

Also, we all had a good laugh over the Microsoft Surface 30-inch table monitors. It’s great for seeing how collection works in ensemble, but the resolution is awful, and what’s worse is that it is bleached out by the sun problem.

The Annenberg Space for Photography, which opened on March 27, is the brainchild of a real photography lover, Wallis Annenberg, and IMO a great idea. Maybe they will fix some of the shortcomings, and even if they don’t, it’s still a wonderful place to visit often.

I love the fact that they have created a bridge between the analog and digital worlds. Unfortunately, the analog got short-changed, which is a shame since no matter what, you can’t capture the full nature of a print digitally and there in lies the value of displaying the analog photos in a more careful and thought-out way.

Check out the inaugural exhibit “L8S ANG3LES,” featuring 11 top-notch LA photographers, through June 28, 2009. Admission is free.

Imagination – President Obama Opens the Door

Posted by Robert Weitz on January 23, 2009 12:35 PM

peacecloud4

“There are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.” – Barack Obama

President Obama’s inaugural address moved me in many ways, but the word that jumped out and grabbed my “designer’s mind” was…”imagination.” It’s something that has been misused and suppressed in the last eight years. In fact, it seems that so much energy was given to subverting the rule of law and hiding inadequacies that there was no imagination left for building and planning for our future.

Design is about nuance and planning. Designers are asked to “imagine” that which does not exist. We are asked to explain and organize chaos, excite the senses while abiding by the laws of physics and nature.

As we emerge from the first decade of the 21st century we will need to understand the role that the human imagination plays in bettering our lives and inspiring great deeds.

The last years have been dumbed down by our fear of expansive ideas, nuance and imagination. Those who boldly looked to the future in the sciences and the arts and social sciences were loudly ridiculed, stifled and sidelined. People who called for nuanced information gathering, analysis and planning were poo-pooed and the “just slam it” school took center stage, often leaving a wake of destruction and debt in their path.

“Imagination is joined to common purpose” well defines so many human endeavors. I would add that it is the balance between imagination and purpose that defines our values. Cultures and political movements that suppress imagination, choice and individuality are cruel, inefficient and hopeless. In all fairness, too much imagination coupled with a lack of purpose can result in chaos and disillusion.

It is the mix of imagination and purpose that will determine what our next century will look like and how good our lives will be. As a designer/communicator, I can see that we need to develop better ways of accessing information, improving human connectivity and conflict resolution, all towards an end “purpose” of world peace and a decent life for all of our inhabitants.

It’s a lofty goal but worth imagining.