Architect Barbara Bestor’s childhood memories involve Brutalist architecture and purple carpeted stairs. She divided her youth between the East Coast, Germany and the Midwest, before venturing to Los Angeles, the land of sunshine and smog, to make her mark. Over twenty years later, her studio is responsible for some of the most culturally relevant workplaces, hospitality venues and experimental residences in the greater Los Angeles area. Now she’s thinking a lot about urban density and the 2028 Olympics. Listen:
What is your earliest memory?
Apple picking in rural New England
How do you feel about democratic design?
I am all for it. We love doing projects that are open to the public, low cost and high design.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
How do you record your ideas?
Many Moleskine sketchbooks
What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?
Pentel Sign Pen
What book is on your nightstand?
On my nightstand: The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MacCauley
On my kindle: Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Why is authenticity in design important?
It provides a counterpoint to the digital life—haptics vs plastics
Favorite restaurant in your city?
In Los Angeles - Cafe Stella
What might we find on your desk right now?
Trace paper, note pads, notes from a client phone call, Sonos speaker, a new book on Reyner Banham by Todd Gannon, and my design for prototype marble charging station.
Who do you look up to and why?
Eleanor Smeal - ratify ERA now!
What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?
One of my favorites is one of our most recent projects, the Ashes & Diamonds winery in Napa. We got to explore a lot of the ideas that have been floating around the office- how do we integrate landscape and architectural design (Bestor Architecture designed both), can we use straightforward pre-engineered buildings and create a luxurious visitor experience, let’s develop a contemporary design for a future-facing winery.
What are the last five songs you listened to?
Steely Dan: Dirty Work
Erykah Dabu: Bag Lady
Childish Gambino: This is America
Betty Davis: Anti Love Song
Sonic Youth: Bull in the Heather