2 minute read
Los Angeles is the City of Angels but perhaps the City of Angles would be more appropriate given its primacy as a design capital. LA has hatched golden-age Hollywood style and Eames chairs, architectural landmarks from Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry, and world-class cultural institutions such as LA County Museum of Art and The Broad museum. “It’s a phenomenal design hub,” says Melbourne interior designer Simone Haag, who’s known for her multifaceted interiors that blend vintage bibelots, modern furnishings and eclectic art.
Two years ago, Haag had an epiphany: “We need to stop scrolling Instagram and get into the real world.” Her solution was a design-focused excursion to LA that spotlighted its leading furniture stores, design showrooms, flea markets, artists’ studios and as many esteemed homes as she could wangle. Unsurprisingly, the global pandemic cut short those initial plans, but the indefatigable designer never forgot the idea. Now she has locked in October as her next SoCal sojourn with an open invitation for whoever would like to join.
Haag is presently polishing the itinerary, but has already confirmed a multitude of stops. One of the highlights will be a visit to the showrooms of luminaries such as Kelly Wearstler, Ralph Rucci and the bright sparks behind lighting brand Apparatus. “They’re design darlings whose Hollywood space is beautifully executed,” she says. Other destinations in her little black book include vintage experts JF Chen, Lawson-Fenning and NFS – that is, “not for sale”. “Owner Jonathan Pessin never wants to part with his collection, but there is a way to do it,” advises Haag. “You have to pretend you don’t really want the pieces. He’s good fun!”
LA is a repository of expansive and legendary homes, including rarefied residences from architects John Lautner, Richard Neutra, and Charles and Ray Eames among others. Unless you’re part of a tour, accessing them can be a challenge. In this case, Haag’s connections smooth the way to view homes of the stature of Stahl House. Unveiled by architect Pierre Koenig in 1959, this instantly recognisable abode overlooking the city from high in the Hollywood Hills has been immortalised in countless films and photo shoots.
Haag imagines a flock of around 30 people, a mix of aspiring designers and design lovers, on the tour. “It will be a fun group,” she says. “It’s not the kind of trip you would do with your partner or your kids. It’s for like-minded people who want a curated experience, but don’t mind a little bit of serendipity.” On earlier visits, Haag found that Angelenos love to let you into their world, introduce you to their friends – and open up their splendid homes. “Designer Pamela Shamshiri, artist Jessalyn Brooks and creative Tiffany Howell are all on speed dial,” she says. “It’s the people you meet along the way who really make the difference for me.”
The group will be accommodated at the spiffy Hoxton in Downtown LA, which is a design destination unto itself. DTLA is home to must-see galleries like Hauser & Wirth, retail stores such as Hammer and Spear, and buzzy lodgings, including The Ace and Proper Hotel by Kelly Wearstler. Of course, participants can do their own thing, too. “You can zig if we zag,” Haag says. But you wouldn’t want to miss the Casa Perfect showroom in Beverly Hills. Conceived by The Future Perfect, it’s a jaw-dropping roaming gallery that juxtaposes contemporary collectibles with a storied 1971 mansion. “With the rosé, the music, and the architecture – you feel like a special guest.”
For booking details on Simone Haag’s LA masterclass head to simonehaag.com.au