A Recap of West Hollywood Design District’s DIEM Convention
Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend part of the DIEM design symposium in West Hollywood. DIEM focuses on the exchange of ideas within the realm of art and design and is filled with talks and panels on a variety of interesting topics. I attend design panels frequently throughout the year, which often cover the same topics and address the same questions. I always love hearing thoughts on these topics, but DIEM brought new ideas and new discussions to the table, which made for a very enlightening Friday morning.
Image Source: Brittany Stiles
LA: The new design hot spot.
The first discussion was between Frances Anderton (DIEM’s curator) and Mallery Roberts Morgan. Mallery is the design writer and creative consultant/correspondent for Architectural Digest France. The title of the talk was “LA Design & the View from Paris.” Mallery, although born in the US, moved to Paris in her early 20s and stayed there for about 20 years before coming back to the US, making her home in Los Angeles. It’s true, Los Angeles can be smoggy and full of traffic and impatient people, and as a resident, sometimes that’s all I see when I look around. This was a perfect discussion for me because I was reminded of all of the reasons why I call Los Angeles home. Apparently we have a few things going for us here in La La Land; we have a lot of space that is also affordable (relatively speaking) in which to design and create. Artists, craftsmen, and designers flock to Los Angeles to hone and perfect their craft. As a result, the city is chalk full of cutting edge talent, from perfectly curated design shops to contemporary art galleries and masterfully skilled metal and woodworkers.
Mallery and Frances also discussed the element of spontaneity that LA possesses that they haven’t necessarily been able to find anywhere else. Many other cities—Paris, London, New York, etc. —have certain unofficial guidelines about “good” design, but Los Angeles has a certain “anything goes” attitude that even when artists and designers miss the mark, they are still applauded for their spontaneity and willingness to live outside the box. After all, that’s when the best ideas are born.
Warehouse Art Galleries
Image Source: Brittany Stiles
The other DIEM discussion that I attended was titled, “Public Access Limited?: LA’s New Era
of White-Box Warehouse Galleries “ and consisted of a panel of artists and curators sharing their unique perspective on art gallery trends. One popular trend right now is that galleries are becoming much larger than they have been in previous decades. Gallery owners are starting to utilize large warehouses in industrial parts of town more and more over small galleries on trendy streets. Ideas were shared about warehouse galleries. The pros: they can hold a lot of guests for gallery openings and events, they can hold extremely large pieces of art, and they can provide that classic museum feel; and the cons: small art is lost on giant walls, if the space is not planned out well it can feel empty, and warehouse spaces can be expensive to renovate and maintain. As the panel closed the jury was still out on which was a better direction for galleries, but it was truly interesting and educational to listen to people who were so knowledgeable about the topic. I left the talk with a goal to visit a few of the warehouse galleries in Los Angeles to be able to form my own opinion on the subject and perhaps join in on the discussion next time!
Were any of you able to attend this year’s DIEM symposium? Comment below to let us know what you thought!