This year, for PAPER's fourth annual L.A. Project, we'll be setting up shop in a temporary storefront space on Sunset Boulevard, where we'll be hosting parties, taking meetings with some of the city's most bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed up-and-coming talents and putting together the massive and insane second annual PAPER 24-Hour Department Store. To gussy the place up, we asked L.A.-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee to work their magic. Their vision for a chain-link-fence-surrounded space is truly inspired, which is why we were dying to chat with Johnston Marklee's founders and principals Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston. Here's what they had to say.
Can you describe your vision/plans for the PAPER space?
Our immediate vision was to create a warren of distinct spaces that each boutique could customize for their own 24-hour presence. The grid of shops is intersected by a communal alley of articulated chain link volumes that provide a center for the musical performances. It has a kind of glam construction site aesthetic that shapes the department store as a collective universe.
What was the inspiration behind this?
Living in Los Angeles we are surrounded by a culture of fast assemblies and breakdowns. We were inspired to use DIY materials such as chain link fencing in an uncommon indoor application. We often reflect on the work of artists and historical architecture that we admire for inspiration. We were thinking about work that incorporates vernacular materials -- such as early Frank Gehry, Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread and the light work Olafur Eliassion and Dan Flavin.
What will be the challenges (if any) in terms of realizing the plans?
The main challenge is time. In the true sense of a pop-up shop, this store happens in the blink of an eye: 24 hours to install/24 hours to exist/24 hours to break down
What would you say defines the design sensibility of Johnston Marklee?
We are committed to qualities in design that are oft overlooked and unexpected -- the quality of awkwardness that makes things interesting, the tension between the ugly and the beautiful, and the production of high-tech affects by low-tech means.
What are some of your other upcoming projects that you're excited about?
We are currently working on two exciting projects in Italy, a winery called Poggio Golo in Tuscany and a mixed-use development anchored by a contemporary art foundation just outside of Rome. We also have a few house projects that are scattered over the globe. A house in Argentina which we call View House is nearing completion, another house in Mongolia, and we are just about to start construction on a small project in Venice, CA which is a tower-like addition to beach bungalow.