A Site-Specific Installation in Los Angeles

In the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Sunset Pacific Motel on Sunset Boulevard has stood vacant for decades. It became known as the “Bates Motel,” more for its creepy resemblance to the one in the Hitchcock film than for the adjacent street by that name. Soon it will be razed to make room for yet another mixed-use development, but in the meantime, French artist Vincent Lamouroux has created a site-specific installation titled “Projection.” In less than two weeks, Lamouroux had the entire building, including a billboard and several palm trees, coated with lime wash.

For two weeks, the formerly seedy, abandoned motel has glowed bright white, presenting a stark contrast to the blue sky and appearing ghost-like in its urban context. The official installation ended this weekend—essentially meaning a security guard will no longer patrol the perimeter. The artist has given the Bates Motel back to the neighborhood, and now its pristine surfaces will serve as a canvas for graffiti artists, and eventually the lime wash will wash away naturally.

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The installation has attracted more than 100 visitors each day, from art and architecture buffs to fashion bloggers to avid Instagrammers (#projectionla). 

Last week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles Chapter invited local designers behind notable hospitality developments to discuss the future of hotel design within the courtyard of the motel. The panel included landscape designer Sean Knibb of Knibb Design (LINE Hotel); Brian Lane, AIA, Managing Principal at Koning Eizenberg (The Standard); and Christopher King, AIA, Design Principal at AC Martin (Wilshire Grand). Panelists discussed the trend toward smaller rooms and larger common areas, approaches to designing for different generations and their varied expectations, and adapting the model of the European hostel to American audiences. They agreed that successful hotels give guests a feel for the neighborhood in which they are located and also provide a destination for locals.

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No photography was allowed in the courtyard. The AIA event marked the first occasion that it had been open as part of the installation, and the artist requested that no pictures were taken in order to preserve the mystery.

Nicolas Libert, co-founder of the art gallery/retailer Please Do Not Enter, which produced the installation, said that “‘Projection’ creates a reason for people diving on Sunset to get out of their cars and meet people.”

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