Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

This past May, octopus bacon—a little surf, a little turf—landed Superba Snack Bar in a spot on Jonathan Gold’s hotly anticipated 101 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles list. The food isn’t the only thing playing fast and loose with diners’ expectations. The interiors capture Venice’s mongrel vibe—Dogtown meets Silicon Beach. There are bike racks, of course, and artist and skateboarder Geoff McFetridge designed the wallpaper. But the zany details, created by Los Angeles-based Design, Bitches, keep going: A tile wall near the open kitchen mimics the inside of a swimming pool, ticking off the depths, and surfer-esque poncho fabric covers the banquettes.  Read More …

Architecture, especially at its most conceptual, is murky territory. It takes a risk for the public to wade in. The field is routinely blasted for using alienating jargon or offering up sci-fi designs that produce head scratching. Three exhibitions on view right now across the southland celebrate experimental design, while making it accessible to a broad audience. Each show — Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB); Materials & Applications: Building Something (Beyond) Beautiful, Projects 2002 – 2013 at Cal State Long Beach University Art Museum; and Blindspot Initiative at the Keystone Gallery in Los Angeles–provoke a collaborative dialog about architecture and its allied disciplines: art, design, fabrication, and digital technologies. While the installations run the gamut from the scrappy to the institutional, when taken together these shows reveal a rich and diverse community united by an ethos to question both the academic and professional boundaries that surround architecture. Read More …

You can find Design, Bitches’ office on a pre-war residential street in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village. Out front: two motorcycles and a succulent garden. In the rear: a shed-like studio and three chickens. Founded by Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, their workspace is just a few blocks from the Beastie Boys’ former headquarters where, until recently, a small shrine adorned with a bouquet of mums placed in front of a State Farm Insurance paid tribute to MCA (Adam Yauch). Understanding where Design, Bitches is located in LA’s urban fabric, that high-low mash-up of typologies, ethnicities, and palm trees, goes a long way to understanding where Design, Bitches is located philosophically. You’ll find them at the corner of architecture culture and pop, throwing a little attitude towards disciplinarians who like to keep the edges of architecture nice and neat.

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