John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
1461 E 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
213 253 4740
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c. JFAK, 2020
The commission to design the 2009 Guest of Honor Pavilion for the annual Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) de Guadalajara provided a rare opportunity to create a public, educational installation that celebrates the dynamic cultural life of Los Angeles – not only its celebrated film industry, but the spirit of innovation that pervades the city’s many creative economies and cultures, including its technological expertise in medicine, aerospace and automobile design, as well as in the visual and culinary arts, music, dance, architecture, and of course, literature.
Rather than try to express these qualities in a didactic way, the design displayed them in an atmospheric, interior public “plaza” that provided space for people to gather and relax away from the hectic activity in the rest of the convention center.
The design included two signature elements. The first was a set of large, suspended, pneumatic “idea bubbles,” inflated simply with air and inspired by the speech and idea bubbles found in cartoons. These inflated volumes formed screens for ten commissioned films about LA. The second element was an “author wall” projecting the names of authors who either wrote in LA, or about LA. As the wall’s content is digital, it could be controlled from a large flatscreen on the plaza floor, where the public was invited to control the flow and location of the names, as well as pull up the writers’ biographies and writing clips in either English or Spanish, using an interactive touchscreen panel.
Upon close of the festival, the various seating elements, booths, and “book towers” were donated to Guadalajara for use in its libraries and schools. The digital author wall and the film live on forever, and can be reused over and over again.