It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...



A man eats lunch while leaning against a giant gift box filled with beach balls at Santa Monica Place on Thursday, August 5, 2010. Santa Monica Place will open to the public tomorrow, Friday, August 6. The  1980 design by the renowned architect Frank Gehry, has been radically repositioned with a green renovation by  Dallas, Texas-based architecture firm Omniplan.

Executive architect Omniplan revamped the mall in association with Jerde Partnership; the formerly enclosed structure is now an open-air retail building that is integrated into the surrounding urban environment. The 500,000-square-foot, three-story shopping and dining destination features upscale retail more suited to the neighborhood than the previous tenant mix, as well as new amenities such as a third-floor Dining Deck with views of the Pacific Ocean. Removing the roof and adding environmentally friendly features has also allowed developer Macerich, which acquired the property in 1999, to target LEED Silver certification. "Our goal with Santa Monica Place was to connect it to its surroundings," said Tipton Housewright, FAIA, LEED AP, Omniplan Principal. "The new structure is open to the neighborhood on all sides and the public areas remain accessible 24-7. We're thrilled to be part of creating this exciting new retail destination in Santa Monica."

Santa Monica Place is located two blocks from Santa Monica Beach along the popular pedestrian Third Street Promenade, one of Los Angeles County's premier retail destinations. The Gehry-designed mall, which underwent basic renovations in 1991 and 1996, reflected the completely enclosed retail style of its time. Because it interrupted the natural flow of pedestrian traffic, it became increasingly out of sync with Santa Monica's lively outdoor culture.

Enclosed malls have fallen out of favor, with open-air malls becoming the preferred standard for communities, particularly as retail moves back to urban centers. Just two enclosed regional malls are currently under construction in the United States. The redevelopment of Santa Monica Place took into account the community's concerns in its openness, adaptation of the original mall structure, and environmental friendliness. The redesign reflects the wishes of Santa Monica residents and transforms the facility into a true, green regional asset.

Posted on Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 03:43PM by Registered CommenterFabian Lewkowicz in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Paintings from Shandong University of Arts

(top) Shandong University of Arts Design School President Yuquan Liu (right) discusses his painting entitled "Fruit 2" with Santa Monica College President Dr. Chui L. Tsang during the closing reception of Paintings from Shandong University of Arts at the SMC Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery, on Friday, July 30, 2010. (above) Chuck Hendrickson admires  Shandong University of Arts President Zhimin Zhang's ink painting entitled 'Single Act Theatre, New Edition' (5 Scrolls) during the closing reception
The exhibition included works from Shandong University President Zhimin Zhang, whose traditional Chinese ink paintings are world renowned, and who was invited in 2009 to participate in an international art show at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Posted on Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 06:53AM by Registered CommenterFabian Lewkowicz in , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint


(1) Santa Monica Police Sergeant Greg Smiley supervises as Emerson Ciegoflores, 12, handles  a 37 Millimeter less lethal rifle during the 27th Anniversary of National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 03, 2010. (2) Santa Monica Harbor Patrol Officer Dan Buchanan put a a gas mask on Selah Gregory. (3) Jenni Kessock, 13, and Justin Vecera, 12, play on a 16 ft. Zocdiac. (4)  Rabbi Eli Levitansky makes kosher cotton candy. (5) Santa Monica Police Captain Dan Salerno cooks hotdogs  during the 27th Anniversary of National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 03, 2010.
National Night Out  involved 37 million people in 15,449 communities from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. The goal of the Santa Monica Police Department is to build upon the good relationship our police and community share along with celebrating that partnership which makes the city of Santa Monica such a safe place to live, work, and visit. National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

Posted on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 12:02AM by Registered CommenterFabian Lewkowicz in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint


The high energy funk-soul jam band, Pinot, performs at Santa Monica City hall during City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division's 5th annual Jazz on the Lawn concert series on Sunday, August 1, 2010. From USC’s Thorton School of Music comes a twist on traditional jazz resulting in an unrivaled sound audiences can’t help but move to. The band began performing at house parties around campus where their popularity skyrocketed. Since then, the talented musicians have toured the country thriving off of crowds ready to get up and dance to their unique style. Just getting back from a six-week tour of more than 18 cities across the country.


Posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 08:30AM by Registered CommenterFabian Lewkowicz | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Odissi Dance Circle

Odissi Dance Circle - Images by Fabian Lewkowicz

Odissi Dance Circle performs during the 34thAnnual Festival of Chariots  on Sunday, August 1, 2010.  Odissi dance is a classical dance form of Orissa and has its origin in the temples. The Festival of the Chariots featured free feast for thousands, free entertainment, exhibits and booths all bringing together the finest in Indian culture. The festival celebrates Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe, and is put on by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The Festival of the Chariots is now performed in every country across the world and dates back 5 thousand years to Jagannatha Puri, India.

Posted on Monday, August 2, 2010 at 01:00PM by Registered CommenterFabian Lewkowicz | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint