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A Still Fountain In Silver Lake: WTARCH At Materials & Applications

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Materials & Applications in Silver Lake is so interesting. It’s a constantly changing outdoor exhibition space dedicated to long term, free, always open exhibitions that showcase local design, specifically architecture. It feels like a local secret out in the open that more people need to pay attention to. I mean, I hadn’t been to the space until yesterday—and I feel like I’ve been aware of the space since moving here six years ago.

The reason for visiting is the reason why the place exists: it’s latest open air exhibit. Their programs always look so commanding and curious, typically as you walk into Lawson Fenning or LaMill, and this one has to be one of the most attractive: Warren Techentin Architecture (AKA WTARCH) created this swirling white cage the flows up and out of the quaint M&A lot. It’s elegant and alien and will have locals going, “What in the shit is that? I want to find out.” And they should!

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The structure is called La Cage aux Folles and uses soft steel tubes to create a Mongolian yurt inspired structure. It’s a bit like a futuristic treehouse or open door cage, rising from the ground and enveloping a viewer. It’s very minimalistic as it only features the white steel which allows for its many curves to feel all the more powerful. What’s most remarkable is this cagey “body” feels so fluid, like a frozen fountain caught as it gurgles upward. There is an actual fountain with the M&A property that may help make this connection but, truly, La Cage‘s best quality is that you feel like you’ve stopped time and are walking in and out of some sort of liquid creature. Although you can’t climb it (according to a sign there but you are totally supposed to interact with it), the architectural sculpture invites you to interact with it and to experience it. You can’t not experience it!

La Cage is ready to be activated too—and M&A wisely are doing so. If interested, you can totally catch a few upcoming performances that will see the structure as a host for local, inter-disciplinary talent. If you haven’t been to M&A yet, now is the time: WTARCH’s showing is approachable and beautiful and would make for a great place to hang out or even meet a friend. Wouldn’t you rather spend some time with a buddy sharing architecture instead of ice cream or something? Maybe that is just me. Learn more about the exhibit here and read WTARCH’s statement on the project on their website. It’ll be on view for Summer, through August 29.

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