Little Wing Lee Receives the FDC + NICOLEHOLLIS Grant, and Other News

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Little Wing Lee. Photography by Joseph de Leo

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Little Wing Lee Receives the FDC + NICOLEHOLLIS Grant

In 2020, the Female Design Council (FDC) launched a grant series in order to tackle the design industry’s glaring lack of diversity. The second annual grant rewards one BIPOC female-identified designer or architect with $15,000 to help grow their company and produce new collections with professional mentorship from Nicole Hollis. “Our industry needs a far more diverse set of voices, and we want to do our part to bolster new perspectives in design,” Hollis says. “Our sincere hope is that this grant will support the sustained growth of one promising emerging studio, one that we can watch thrive for years to come.” 

This year’s winner is Little Wing Lee, an interior designer who holds the position of design director at Ace Hotel Group/Atelier Ace in addition to her own interior design practice, Studio & Projects, and Black Folks in Design, an organization she launched in order to raise awareness about the cultural contributions of Black designers. “I see this grant as an investment in my talent and skill that will help me establish the foundation I need to thrive as a Black woman in the design business,” Lee tells Surface. “[It’s] a wonderful investment in my studio.” This year’s honorees include Anne Dereaux of Dereaux Studio, Chopp Stewart of Florida Water Interiors, Laura Casañas Maya, Teruko Kushi, and Urvi Sharma of INDO, each of whom will receive a complimentary year-long FDC membership.

Short Stories Hotel in Hollywood

L.A.’s New Secret Garden–Style Stay

Sequestered behind an unassuming ivy-clad entrance in West Hollywood, the 66-key Short Stories Hotel is a blissful reprieve from the din of nearby Sunset Boulevard. Hotelier Leo Grifka collaborated with local studio Kevin Klein Design to permeate the property with a mix of carefree California style and elevated European touches. Landscape designer Rolling Greens transformed the internal outdoor space of the 1960s building into a dreamy courtyard garden where guests gather for aperitivos among Rhus Lancea trees, a classic stone fountain, and a wood-burning fireplace. 

Celebrated Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate (Paiche, Rosaliné) concepted the on-site restaurant, an interpretation of a Pan-American bistro decked out in terracotta colors and earthy woods. On the menu: dishes made with fresh ingredients sourced at the Original Farmers Market across the street, including grilled octopus basted in aji amarillos (yellow chili peppers) and tiger prawn tacos served in blue corn tortillas with yuzu marinade and cilantro slaw. The rooms are pared back but the details really shine, from local painter Kenton Nelson’s Cali–inspired artworks to geometric-pattern custom credenzas to the poured-in-place terrazzo flooring and sinks in the bathrooms. It’s a peaceful place to bed down, though L.A.’s famous after-dark scene is never far away.  

The Nakagin Capsule Tower in Ginza, Tokyo. Photography by Kakidai, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Despite preservation efforts, Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower will come down in April. 

“According to the Agence France-Presse, the end is now quickly approaching: the 13-story mixed-use office and residential tower completed in 1972 on the fringes of Tokyo’s Ginza district is scheduled to come down on April 12 (unless there are further delays). That specific date was relayed to the AFP by Tatsuyuki Maeda, a preservationist who first bought his unit in 2010 and now owns more than a dozen of the tower’s compact cuboid capsules that feature built-in furnishings and oversized, washing machine-esque circular windows.” —[H/T The Architect’s Newspaper]

Forensic Architecture receives the Peabody Award for its “continued public service.”

“The activist community can rejoice today on the news that groundbreaking London-based collective Forensic Architecture (FA) has been given an Institutional Peabody Award for its continued public service and contributions to electronic media. The group was cited for their work documenting the use of Israeli spyware called Pegasus, the ongoing exhibition Cloud Studies, and myriad investigations into police brutality, war crimes, surveillance culture, environmental racism, and the illegal occupation of Palestine.” —[H/T Archinect]

Bonhams will auction a sample of moon dust originally collected by Neil Armstrong.

“A sample of moon dust collected by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission will go under the hammer in New York next month. As part of a Bonhams auction of rare space history–related artifacts, the lunar sample is expected to fetch around $1 million. And thanks to an unusual series of events, this will be the first time moon dust verified by NASA has been sold legally.” —[H/T Vox]

House of Léon’s new L.A. showroom

House of Léon’s new L.A. showroom puts their range of sleek furniture on full display. 

House of Léon has opened a showroom in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the furniture brand was founded by twins Jordan and Steven Neman. On display is the brand’s debut collection of sleek home furnishings, called Ojai, which they describe as “an ode to mother nature’s materials, and an embodiment of stillness—showcasing beauty in simplicity in a modern-organic style.” Highlights include the Ojai Sofa, a sumptuous low-slung statement piece that looks like it was designed to melt into, and the Topa Topa Dining Table, a solid chestnut wood table named for the mountain range that lines California’s Ojai Valley. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous “dissent” collar will be donated to the Smithsonian.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissent” collar—the one she wore on days that she gave powerful and pointed opinions at odds with the Supreme Court’s majority—is being donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Three other distinctive collars, the judicial robe that she wore most often during her more than 25 years on the court and other items are also being donated by her family to coincide with the museum’s decision to award Ginsburg its signature honor, the Great Americans Medal.” —[H/T The New York Times]

Italy launches an anti-seismic plan to protect its historic churches from earthquakes.

“Cathedrals, churches and basilicas across Italy are at risk of being razed by earthquakes that could strike at any moment. But the government is on a mission to protect some of the country’s most significant and vulnerable religious buildings from disastrous seismic shocks. A new national project backed with €250m from Italy’s multibillion-euro pot of EU Covid-19 recovery funding is unprecedented in Europe for its scale and reach, officials believe. However, they face a race against the clock to secure the funds needed to implement the plan. The list of churches receiving funds will be finalized by the end of March, before the grants are allocated by June. The resulting restoration and maintenance works are due to be completed by the end of 2025.” —[H/T The Art Newspaper]

New scents by Ilse Crawford for IKEA

Today’s attractive distractions:

Your next outing at Coachella may involve a 17-course sushi dinner in a speakeasy.

French Polynesia, overlooked by e-commerce, is taking delivery into its own hands.

Ikea launches a fragrance with Ilse Crawford that’s inspired by Scandinavian forests.

Revisit an iconic Domus cover that featured an early-career Zaha Hadid from 1984.

All Stories