T W G : Design Journal


A neon orange Lotus -- only in LA!

While in the LA area recently, Paul Wiseman had a few hours to kill between design consultations with two architectural firms. (More on that later). On a recommendation from Corbin Smith, an old friend, Paul headed to Venice to check out the shops. Abbot Kinney Blvd (named after the founder of Venice and builder of its canals) has become a trendy shopping destination with nice boutiques and popular eateries lining both sides of the street.

Glass bottles by Alessandro Zambelli for Seletti at A + R

Paul coveted lots of items at global design shop A + R, but chose to purchase several 1.5-liter glass bottles by Alessandro Zambelli for Seletti. The bottles, based on iconic plastic water container shapes, make a perfect gift for use on a desktop or nightstand.

Paul then wandered into The Sculpture Gardens, a licensed plant nursery which propagates plants from all over the world. It specializes in flowering bushes and small trees suitable for decks, patios, and small gardens. The establishment, originally called Venice Place Arts Center, has a fascinating early history. According to their website, an "interracial partnership of socially involved friends was formed, and a non-profit fine arts school was completed to provide classes for neighborhood children." There were apparently three galleries and ten to fifteen studios on the property. Several old plant specimens date back to the early 1970s when the garden was first planted.

Paul next to a mature prickly pear cactus at The Sculpture Gardens

The architecture along Abbot Kinney Blvd is eclectic. Older bungalows have been gentrified; modern office buildings have been erected; and old storefronts have been attractively updated.

A bungalow with a stylish update, including a pale blue-gray palette and custom stucco work

Playful modern building with commercial space below and apartment living above

A dapper artisan painting the sign for new restaurant Willie Jane, his cappuccino waiting below

An intriguing window display at Chariots on Fire


The area is well worth a side trip next time you have an afternoon in LA!  ~