Katie MacDonald: Los Angeles, Yayoi Kusama, and Dusen Dusen
City: Los Angeles, California, as a city of cities. I grew up there and experienced many different lifestyles the suburban utopia of block parties and scouts outings in Westchester, beach life in Playa del Rey, and the daily climb into the hills of Sherman Oaks and Encino. Education and teaching has taken me East and South in the U.S., but every time winter hits, my heart pangs for Los Angeles.
Building: Edoardo Gellner and Carlo Scarpa’s Church in Corte di Cadore. Though the two were the same age, Gellner was a student of Scarpa and later invited Scarpa to collaborate with him on the church. The project is a clear dialogue between the two voices – Gellner’s sheared volumes and affinity for organic architecture meet Scarpa’s fine details. It is part duet, part mash-up.
Public space: Piazza del Campo in Siena. The incline of the plaza allows people to sit comfortably on the ground in the middle of a large paved urban space..
Architect (that is also a woman): Jennifer Bonner of MALL. I had the pleasure of working for Jennifer when I was an undergraduate student, and it has been inspiring to see her solo practice grow and transform since then. Her work engages popular culture and reframes everyday materials in a way that can speak to multiple audiences.
Artist: Yayoi Kusama. Kusama works from a simple palette of colors and reflective materials, but through such combinations is able to extend space from physical to perceptual, evoking visceral and psychological reactions.
Restaurant: Sofra in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sofra’s dining space is hardly as large as its kitchen, but it is worth queuing up for the delicious savory and sweet Turkish treats inside.
Memory: A few years ago, I completed a project in the Alps in Slovenia. The helicopter ride to the remote mountaineering shelter was like nothing that I had experienced before: crippling vertigo at 2500 meters released into profound delight at the site of the newly installed building.
Object: The patterns of Dusen Dusen, a homeware and womenswear studio launched by Ellen Van Dusen. I love the bold, playful, and at times spatial prints of Dusen Dusen, followed closely by the prints of Marimekko.
Film: Lost in Translation. Sofia Coppola’s film frames the urbanity of Tokyo as a space that can induce both loneliness and connection, humor and tragedy. As a frequent traveler, I love the way the narrative captures both the excitement and unease of visiting a new place, especially for work.