There's Something Happening Here: Design Collectives

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending an open house at Building212, "a unique creative space in Sacramento's Mansion Flats District. Building212 is home to a diverse group of craftspeople, whose work spans the spectrum from cabinetry to jewelry." It was wonderful to see and celebrate the work of  Phillip Garcia/14th Street Millworks, Maya Kini, Brian Schmitt, Sherry Olsen and Stephen Schubauer. For more pictures of the open house, visit Rik Keller Photography.

I had previously visited Building212 in April when friend/colleague Ian Merker made arrangements to show Erik Bricker, director of Visual Acoustics, the exciting design and craft work at the building. Before the screening of his film at the Crocker Art Museum, we were showing Erik around town to give him a sense of what is happening here in Sacramento. During our visit, I was struck with a profound admiration and recognition that, in the last couple of years, I've been noticing a positive trend in Sacramento: craftspeople, creatives, artists and workers are building communities together. Not only sharing physical space, but also sharing visions, dreams, passions and ideas. People are coming together, taking a leap of faith and putting their trust in others. They are taking action and building cooperative, collective, and collaborative spaces.

If you take a look around, it doesn't take long to find them. Here is a brief look at a few collectives in addition to Building212:

Urban Hive
A cooperative co-working space.
Photo by Daisy Sugiyama via Urban Hive's Facebook page
Per their website:
"The Urban Hive gives that independent a place to go--an un-office, if you will--to work, create, collaborate, refresh and (yes) play. Think of it as a great company culture, just without the company. We provide a professional work space for independent workers, creatives, and small companies. Coffee, wifi, and a community of Sacramento's coolest coworkers come standard. Choose to work café-style, desk-style, or office-style.
We think that one of the things that makes our community so great is the dramatic space that we call home. Located in an industrial modern space that includes a full art gallery, conference and meeting rooms, art and design studios, and even traditional offices. It is a place that inspires and encourages non-linear, creative, out-of-the-cubicle thinking.
More than the space, though, Creatives benefit from the community environment where spontaneous brainstorming stimulates idea exchange, fosters networking and even provides opportunities for project collaboration."
Capitol Creative Collective
A group of creatives that regularly meet and have a design directory.

Fun and camaraderie C3 style, via Facebook

Per C3's Facebook page:
"The CCC is a consortium of multi-disciplined designers, artists and architects founded by designer Jake Favour in Sacramento. The CCC started life as a small gathering of creative friends over a few pints and steadily grew into the Sacramento areas largest designer gathering...."
Beatnik Studios
A cooperative photography studio/gallery/event space.

Per their blog, "Beatnik Studios is a cooperative studio/gallery located in the heart of the Tower District at 2421 17th Street just off Broadway." On Facebook: "Sacramento's source to create, celebrate & collaborate with the community and elevate the amazing talents that surround us."

Verge Center for the Arts
A non-profit arts organization dedicated to the ".... promotion and support of contemporary art in the Sacramento region ... through the production of contemporary art exhibitions, artist residencies, educational programming, and by providing affordable studio space to Sacramento artists.
via Verge Center for the Arts' Facebook page
Per Jesse Powell, Verge's founder:
"In founding Verge, I had two goals: create a supportive incubator of artists where ideas could be shared and collaborations made, and create a gallery for contemporary art that would both educate Sacramento and be significant on an international stage...."
Bows Collective
A group of spirited people running an art gallery, retail shop, and a cafe with a beer and wine bar.

Bows Collective via Facebook
Per their website:

"We are a house of inspiration. We bring the creativity and quality and love and attention to everything involved in our work. Be it the food, the clothing, the art, the music, the beer and wine, the jewelry and furniture. Everything has been lovingly chosen and brought forth for your enjoyment. We are a collective of people who are very dedicated to the concept of being a small seller of all things special."

Scout Living
Scout Living via Facebook
A mid-century modern and antique collective with independent sellers of 20th century furniture and design. All of the sellers helped design the retail space and take turns working in the store. Enduring friendships have formed and they often consult with one another and help identify each other's finds.

Finally, I feel a need to mention that BlankBlank (now in Courtland) was one of the first collaborative design partnerships in Sacramento. At the time BlankBlank included designers Curtis Popp and Rob Zinn. I believe they helped provide inspiration to those that have followed.

The advantages of being a member of these communities like these are numerous. They provide a source of support and inspiration; a way to bounce ideas off of others and problem-solve; a feeling of being more connected and less isolated; an opportunity for synergy and collaboration. They remind me of a fundamental Gestalt principle that I learned first in psychology and later in design: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Here comes the Sun(flower Farmers Market)

5.6.12 Update: Grand Opening = May 16, 2012 at 7am. There will be giveaways, tastings, specials, etc. Hurray!
5.1.12 Update: Word in the neighborhood is that opening day is coming mid-May.
4.6.12 Update: Sunflower Farmers Market has recently merged with Sprout Farmers Market. This will slow but not halt progress at the Sutterville Shopping Center.
Great news for our neighborhood this month! As reported in the Sacramento Bee, we'll likely be welcoming a Sunflower Farmers Market in the Sutterville Shopping Center (located at the corners of Del Rio Boulevard and South Land Park Drive). This seems like a great time to share with you what I've gathered on the history of the center, which was originally built in 1955.

The Sutterville Shopping Center was designed by Los Angeles architects Karel Kooper & Curtis C. Maybeck. Built with a steel and wood frame, the center was decorated with native stone and brick. The original occupants of the center were:
- a Cardinal super market;
- Land Park Pharmacy, owned by Joseph Russ and Ted Econome;
- a coffee shop owned by William Thompson;
- an interior decorating and furnishings store owned by Richard McClernon;
- a women's clothing store owned by Mrs. Andrew Bartolini and Mrs. Vera Wacholder;
- a variety and toy shop owned by Doris Gossling;
- Swift Cleaners dry cleaning shop;
- a barber shop owned by Louis Caldwell, and;
- a beauty shop owned by Charles Crowley.

As noted in a Sacramento Press article earlier this year, "The building near South Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road has always been anchored by a grocery store since its construction in the early 1950s – from Cardinal and Lucky Stores to Compton's Market and Wilco. But the 21,000-square-foot, ground-floor space has been empty since a Prime Market left about two and a half years ago."

According to this month's Bee article, Sunflower Farmers Market signed a 30 year lease at the Sutterville Shopping Center and "tenant improvements will begin immediately with major upgrades at the 30,000-square-foot store site...." Of course, I hope any exterior changes are consistent and sensitive with the shopping center's original mid-century modern architecture. For example, Parkside Pharmacy's remodel blends nicely with the center's original style, right down to the dimensional letters on top of the center's soffit.

Let's give a big welcome to Sunflower Farmers Market -- looking forward to having their wonderful store in our neighborhood!

Beautiful home designed by Caywood & Nopp

Special thanks to my pal jwoo, who posted the listing for this outstanding 1963 custom mid-century modern ranch in Carmichael on Facebook and helped me finally make the connection where this home is located. I've had an old two page Architectural Digest article from 1965 and knew that the home likely still existed but had no idea as to where.

Per the listing, "Rare opportunity to own a 4400 sqft one story home on the American River w/outrageous river riews! Pvt. gated setting w/pool, boat hoist & retractable stairs to the river. The main house has 3 bedrooms and an office. There is a one bedroom apartment w/living room, kitchen, separate bedroom and full bathroom w/its own entrance for a live-in or an additional bedroom/playroom for the main house."

I love the use of natural materials with special attention given to the ceilings and surfaces - such a well-crafted home with gorgeous views of the river! I can only imagine that architects Grant Caywood and Jack Nopp had a great time designing this home. According to the listing agent, the home was built for the family that started Crystal Dairy and then was owned for 40 years by philanthropist Hardie Setzer of Setzer Forest Products.

A little more about the architects: Grant D. Caywood was a respected and decorated WWII pilot who helped rebuild Germany by designing roads, hospitals, shopping centers and homes after the war. In 1953, he founded his architectural firm in Sacramento. His firm worked on diverse projects throughout Northern California, including the KCRA television studios, the Sacramento Municipal Airport Master Plan, and numerous commercial buildings, residences, and institutions. He was Chairman of the Sacramento City Planning Commission from 1953 to 1957. He shared his passion with his students – as an instructor/lecturer in both aeronautics and architecture.

Jack D. Nopp worked independently in Ukiah before working with local firms such as Barovetto & Thomas and Cox, Liske & Associates. He worked with Grant Caywood from 1963 to 1978, and designed several residences and commercial buildings in Sacramento and Placerville.

I've posted a little bit about Mr. Caywood previously in this blog. He was friends and neighbors with the original owners of our Eichler home. In 1962, Mr. Caywood designed an addition to our Eichler home. He also designed a wonderful lighting system in the dining room and den, a cool bookcase, and an improved roof and gutter system.

I'm not an agent nor am I affliated with one; I am posting this as a public service to those who are interested and love MCM design and architecture as much as I do.

*blushing* Gee. Thanks!

Issue 28 of Sactown Magazine. June/July 2011

What a pleasant surprise yesterday evening when my husband opened the latest issue of Sactown Magazine and said quietly, "Did you know that you're mentioned in here?" I replied incredulously, "What do you mean?!" But there I am on page 66 of Issue 28 (June/July 2011) with other Sacramento MCM friends in the story entitled "Best of the City" under the heading "Mod Squads."

Per the article, "... you need to know about three very cool sites that celebrate '50s-era design in our fair city. The first, Eichlerific, is a must-read blog launched with a focus on modern homes in Sacramento... but has grown to encompass all things mid-century here, from local landmarks to artists and the modern architects who helped shape this city."

Wow, Sactown! Thank you so much and I will endeavor to live up to your kind words.

I'm in great company under the "Mod Squads" category with my friends at Mimomito and Scout Living -- who, by the way, are in the middle of their soft opening today of their new store located at 1215 18th Street in Midtown. See Toni's post on Mimomito for an inside peek and make your way over there. They're open unusually late -- until 10pm tonight! You can also read more about their new store in an article by Brandon Darnell in Sacramento Press here.

If you can't make it in today, check them out during regular business hours (tba) or wait to celebrate with them during their Grand Opening during Art Second Saturday on June 11, 2011 from 5:00pm to 9pm. See you there!