Flea Builds a Music-Centric Playground in Los Angeles, and Other News

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The new Nickerson Playground in Los Angeles, designed pro bono by NBBJ and ESI Design. Photography by Ty Cole, courtesy of NBBJ

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Flea Builds a Music-Centric Playground in Los Angeles

It’s not every day that rockstars duet with architecture firms, but that’s exactly what happened when Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea partnered with NBBJ and ESI Design to develop a new playground in Los Angeles. Known as the Nickerson Gardens Playground, the project is the rock bassist’s latest endeavor to expand access to music education and community support. The playground will feature seven swings, multiple slides, a carousel, and an adult fitness center. The nonprofits that Flea co-founded, the Silverlake Conservatory of Music and the Watts Conservatory of Music, will help oversee the playground’s programming and ensure it becomes both a safe space and a vital hub for musical education. —Ryan Waddoups

670 Mesquit. Image courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group/Gruen Associates

A developer asks for financial help to realize a Bjarke Ingels complex in Los Angeles.

Since 2016, Vella Group has been seeking approvals for a Bjarke Ingels–designed tower in Los Angeles, including four buildings with more than 800,000 square feet of offices, 420 homes, commercial spaces, and a 236-room hotel. A recent motion by 14th District City Councilmember Kevin de Leon indicates the hotel development requires financial assistance, and the developer has requested incentives similar to other large hotel projects, offering $150,000 for an economic feasibility study. The mixed-use complex is seen as a vital connection for the Arts District, with features like an outdoor deck for public events. The City of Los Angeles has provided financial incentives to hotel projects before, but the necessity and efficacy of such incentives have recently come under closer scrutiny.

DXA Studio is designing emergency shelters for New York’s influx of asylum seekers.

Over the past year, New York City has seen an influx of more than 100,000 asylum seekers, leading to a 200 percent increase in the shelter system and a “state of emergency” as declared by Mayor Eric Adams. In response, local firm DXA Studio announced plans to build two new emergency shelters that will house between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants, working closely with the Office of Emergency Response and the Department of Health and Hospitals. The temporary shelters, to be located at the Creedmore Psychiatric Center in Queens and Randall’s Island, will include sleeping quarters, dining and recreation areas, and a clinic. Seen as a humanitarian decision by DXA Studio, the project faces challenges in navigating the city’s complex building codes and zoning laws, but it represents a potential step forward in collaboration between the city and federal government to address the crisis. 

Image courtesy of Tokujin Yoshioka

Tokujin Yoshioka unveils a double-layered glass torch for a Japanese sports festival.

Tokujin Yoshioka has unveiled a torch design using clear glass, doubling its layer to create a glass-within-a-glass concept that allows heat release and air circulation for a steady flame. The Glass Torch, with free-flowing curves and a design reminiscent of scientific apparatus, will be the official torch for the Japan Game Saga in 2024. Yoshioka, known for his exploration of light and glass projects, also designed the torch for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

A court rules that artist Sam Kerson’s murals depicting slavery can be covered up.

A federal court has ruled against artist Sam Kerson, who sued Vermont Law School for covering up his murals that were criticized for featuring offensive depictions of Black people. The school had commissioned Kerson to paint the murals in the early 1990s, but after receiving complaints, decided to cover the paintings with acoustic panels in 2020. Kerson sued under the 1990 Visual Artists Right Act (VARA), but the court ruled that hiding the murals did not modify or destroy them, and VARA does not mandate the preservation of art without regard for others’ rights. The decision has been seen as striking a balance between an artist’s rights and the rights of those who own or are affected by the artwork.

London authorities respond after a “distressed” man scales the National Gallery’s roof.

The National Gallery in London is responding to an ongoing police incident after a “distressed” man climbed onto the gallery’s roof earlier this week. Footage on social media showed the man on the edge of the gallery’s gable. A heavy police presence, including the Hazardous Area Response Team, cordoned off Trafalgar Square and evacuated the area. The incident also led to the cancellation of a scheduled performance in Trafalgar Square.

Image courtesy of PacSun

Today’s attractive distractions:

PacSun keeps dropping new collections with an unlikely collaborator: The Met.

Vegetables are the root of a wave of fragrances by Diptyque, Colekt, and more.

A decade-old Reddit forum is giving people honest feedback about their looks.

Versace wipes its Instagram clean, sparking speculation about new beginnings.

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