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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023



Staff Reporter

In a city that attracts some of the world’s hottest fashion designers, architects and other design professionals, it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd, no matter how talented one may be.

Which is why a group of established Los Angeles architects and other professional designers decided to help put some of L.A.’s brightest young stars on the map.

The result is New Blood 101, an exhibition showcasing the work of 101 of the city’s next generation of up-and-coming architects and designers, as well as a small number of established professionals who continually push the envelope.

The exhibition, scheduled to run from March 18 to April 30 at the Pacific Design Center, will display the latest and most innovative work by L.A.-based fashion and interior designers, architects, graphic and product designers, among others.

“L.A. is a city with incredible talent that doesn’t get enough attention,” said architect Stephen Kanner, one of the exhibition’s organizers. “The idea is to bring a little more attention to these people.”

New Blood 101 will kick off Westweek ’98, L.A.’s biggest interior-design trade show of the year, at the Pacific Design Center.

“You hear about all these big stars, but who will be the stars for the next millennium?” asked Coralie-Langston Jones, a spokeswoman for the exhibit. “These are the people we should know about.”

The show, spearheaded by architect Bernard Zimmerman, follows in the footsteps of 100-100, a 1994 exhibit featuring the work of 100 Los Angeles architects over the past 100 years. Unlike previous exhibits, New Blood 101 groups together architects with other designers.

“The spirit of this particular Westweek is of bringing together all the different design fields,” said Kanner.

A 500-foot space has been reserved for the exhibition in the Pacific Design Center’s Green Lobby. Each participant will be given four panels to display his or her work. The exhibit is being sponsored largely by the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles.

The exhibitors, many of whom were selected because of their experimental work, were picked by a panel of 12 L.A. architects and designers. Although many of the designs on display, from restaurant interiors to articles of clothing, have been seen by people throughout the world, their creators remain relatively anonymous, said Kanner.

Brett Wickens, 36, is one of them.

Wickens, vice president and creative director of the L.A.-based graphic design firm Frankfurt Balkind Partners, has designed award-winning album covers for musical giants like Peter Gabriel and George Michael, as well as advertising designs for Nike. Yet his name is unknown outside his field.

“L.A. has tremendous talent,” said Kanner, “Given their youth, these are the people that we’ll likely hear of in the next generation.”

Wickens plans to show off his latest work: A new typeface design for FUSE 14, an experimental digital magazine.

Also on display will be a poster Wickens designed for the International Prison Observatory in Paris. The poster was part of a traveling exhibition to show the living conditions in prisons around the world.

“My topic was food in prisons. I created a poster with four steel bars, and behind them was a dollar bill that I formed into a Hershey bar,” said Wickens. “Food is currency in prisons.”

Not all the exhibitors are newcomers. Irene Kasmer, who designed the revolutionary hip-hugger pants in 1958, will show a remake of her original design, which has come back into vogue.

“You can be new blood if you are innovative and original,” said Kasmer, who has been a designer for almost half a century. “You are new because you innovate constantly.”

Among her clothing design exhibits, Kasmer will also display a new line of accessories and beauty products.

Kanner, a third-generation architect, is also one of the exhibitors. His architectural designs, which include ’50s-style coffee shops and residential buildings, are “retro-futurism with an element of the past and a look of the future,” he said.

The exhibition, which is free to the public, will be open during Pacific Design Center’s regular hours.

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