It’s a brave new world and we have big problems. But some members of the arts and design community in Los Angeles are hoping to come up with some big solutions, and if not solutions, then at least they’ll build up some big ideas.
Big City Forum is an informal group of artists, writers, architects, designers, and generally creative big thinkers that meets semi-regularly and brings together interesting figures from across the design spectrum to talk about their respective work. The group, curated by Leonardo Bravo, is meant to “push forth a creative cities agenda, and help foster a conversation around sustainable creative communities on the ground.”
This month, we all gathered at the Craft and Folk Art Museum to listen to Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio and Margaret Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring expound upon the poetry of materiality and give us a quick tour of their work. Nogues took us from the temporary Elastic Plastic Fantastic pavilion that debuted at the Coachella Music Festival to their recent catenary designs. Wertheim, now a well-known figure in the design community for her TED presentation, talked about the ever-growing crochet coral reef project that will soon be on show at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. With a conversation that flowed from the catenary to hyperbolic, we all left enchanted, enraptured, and perhaps empowered to go out and do something grand.
These creative speakeasy groups are probably (or rather, hopefully) springing up all across the country as people in creative fields strive to find ways to express and solve problems through design. Just as with any line of business, connectivity can be the catalyst for great things.