We are thrilled to share our interview with our clients (generally amazing architects/designers) Undisclosable with ACME readers!
1. WHAT INSPIRED THE CONCEPT OF UNDISCLOSABLE?
On the one hand we’d grown a bit tired of what felt like the tyranny (or curse) of the starchitect: buildings predominantly as expressions of the architect’s brand, more so than an embodiment of the client’s sensibility/brand. Ultimately, we are a service industry. Our purpose is to articulate and concretize the desires of our client into the “built environment” through the lens of our expertise. Certainly our work has common threads running through it particularly as it relates to quality, detailing and experiential sensitivity, but our goal is to push our client’s agenda.
Secondly, in the office, we often discuss the origin of design concepts and find word-based articulation of such, a verbalization of that “ah-ha” moment, extraordinarily difficult to identify/disclose. Intuition is a powerful design force, allowing for the connection and collation of impossibly large amounts of information. Relevance lies in direct experience.
Thirdly, we are involved with projects, the particulars of which we are legally bound from disclosing (literally, undisclosable!). There are also projects within which we operate as ghost designer, a condition which necessitates zero public disclosure of our presence/influence. At the time of our formation, inspiration for our name was taken from a truly invigorating project that we could not tell anyone about due to non disclosure agreements. The client was (and remains) brilliant, generous and truly inspirational.
2. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU RIGHT NOW?
Our clients first and foremost. We have had the good fortune of producing work for rare and idea catalyzing experts in their respective fields. Each project has been unique and eye-openingly educational.
We also look to industries adjacent to architecture for inspiration, such as music, fashion and film. We find the overlaps between these to be rich arenas. In 2011 we collaborated on a large scale installation art piece for The Creators Project who enabled a fantastic collaboration between film director Jonathan Glazer, UK band Spiritualized, UK based audio visual studio One of Us and ourselves to produce an immersive experiential physical manifestation of the song Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. The piece was first showcased at Coachella 2011 and later that year in New York for a limited two week engagement. The resonance of that piece is one of the most fragile and powerful projects with which we have ever been involved.
3. TO YOU, WHAT IS THE BEST “SECRET SPOT” IN LOS ANGELES AND WHY?
Currently, to us, the best secret spot is our backyard, the Garden of Edenhurst in Atwater Village, which we designed and built as our wedding reception venue and for continued entertaining and enjoyment of California’s enviable weather. It is within walking distance of a very beautiful, tranquil, walkable, wildlife laden stretch of the L.A. River.
We also thoroughly enjoy the Largo at the Coronet. The venue’s intimate atmosphere makes it feel like a secret. We are huge fans of stand up comedy and have seen some tremendous performances there: Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo, as well as great music performances like Aimee Mann and Andrew Bird.
4. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE L.A. NEIGHBORHOOD AND WHY?
We love Atwater Village where we’ve resided since 2008. It is a very pedestrian friendly area with beautiful mature trees at the base of Griffith Park. There are lovely restaurants, great coffee and pastries, a healthy selection of bars, neighborly (community), ethnically and generationally diverse, well-vegetated, river adjacent, and logistically well positioned for accessing the rest of LA. Our offices are located in the Arts District, and we are absolutely loving it there. There is a rich concentration of creatives, development capital and consequent growth. It is also quite walkable, close to SCI_Arc and a fantastic urban counterpoint to tranquil Atwater Village.
5. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
First and foremost, meaningful interaction with good people. Family, good friends, our beloved animals (Linus and Lulu our goldens and Winston our gray tuxedo cat). A job well done, efficiently produced, aesthetically potent, programmatically enlivening that is both profitable and beyond the expectations of the client. The success of our clients and friends. Good food and libations. Good music. Each other.
6. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARCHITECTS OR DESIGNERS OF THE MOMENT?
We are attracted to architects and designers who on the one hand combat the ephemerality of trend, people who are in it for the long haul, and yet on the other hand produce work that is of our time, that relishes our time. As far as tried and true are concerned: Herzog and DeMeuron, Enrique Miralles, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima. As far as newer folks go, we absolutely love Cerre’s work in fashion.
7. WHAT MAKES UNDISCLOSABLE UNIQUE?
Our team. Our clients. Our approach. Our approachability.
8. ANY EXCITING THINGS COMING UP?
Definitely. We are pretty deep in the design of a ground up single family home in the Pacific Palisades that we are very excited about. We also have a few new LA hospitality projects on the horizon that are positioned to be extraordinary. We recently finished up Bucato in Culver City where Chef Evan Funke serves up the truly best pasta in Los Angeles.