July 17, 2021 — September 12, 2021
Veil Craft, created by the architectural collective Figure, is the first in a new series of collaborations with Materials&Applications in our Craft Contemporary Courtyard. It is funded by the Graham Foundation and is also supported by the Pasadena Art Alliance.
Even as the Pandemic brought Los Angeles public life to a halt, construction seemed to continue unabated – deemed as an essential activity. As the population sheltered in their own private spaces, shimmering veils of green, white, orange and black construction textiles continue to appear around the city, their presence signaling many things: hopefully the building of future shelter for those without, but more often than not, a simple indication for the public to keep out. Referred to often as construction tarps or debris netting, these robust, porous, and colorful textiles have inadvertently become a near permanent facade aesthetic through the ubiquity of construction in the city of Los Angeles.
Veil Craft is an architectural installation made from these textiles, transforming the courtyard of the Craft Contemporary into an unexpected pocket park. The street wall is faced in commonplace green debris netting, masquerading as another unfinished construction site on Wilshire Blvd. Yet the base of this wall opens up into a deep awning, creating a generous shaded porch that invites the public into the interior of the courtyard. Passing through this threshold, the visitor is confronted with a courtyard within a courtyard, clad in long draping, pleated panels of white debris netting extending up thirty-feet. In this shaded inner layer, the pleated fabric produces varying effects of transparency and texture, while playfully parting around serendipitous intersections with existing courtyard elements. The various spaces become a continuously shifting and unfolding act of veiling and revealing as one navigates the courtyard. The careful stitching and assembly of the textile panels juxtaposes ideas of domesticity, body and garment, and ornamentation alongside typical construction practices. By playing into and as well upending these material associations, the proposal becomes an act that brings forward the everyday, invisible materiality of Los Angeles’ changing landscape in order to interrogate it.
The site itself transforms into a public venue for a series of summer events that bring together artists and storytellers into dialogue, with renewed focus onto questions of accessibility, labor practices, and community engagement. Ultimately the project aims to activate the public’s interest in the overlooked materiality of our built environment, bringing together expert and non-expert audiences in conversation about Los Angeles’ material culture, thus bridging industry, craft, artistic and architectural audiences together.