The Lost Orchard

For the 2018 Los Angeles Design Festival (LADF), Assembledge+ designed and fabricated a site-specific installation – The Lost Orchard – highlighting the significant connection between industrial revolution, lands use, division, ownership, and design in shaping Los Angles.

The first California orange orchard was planted at the San Gabriel Mission, CA in 1804, followed in 1840 by the first commercial orange orchard in what is today downtown Los Angeles, CA. The citrus industry in Los Angeles hit its peak in the 1930s, with over 50,000 acres dedicated to orchards of orange and lemon.

As a result of the housing boom after World War II, yields declined while farmland became more valuable as residential housing, displacing most of the orchards. Today, only a handful of orchards and groves are left, totaling about 40 acres.

Once a street produce market, built along the Southern Pacific Railroad, ROW DTLA has been transformed into a creative mixed-use campus. Transportation infrastructure was developed in Los Angles as a product of the shipping and receiving of agricultural products. Los Angles was transformed from a small isolated agricultural town into one of the world’s prominent metropolises. Responding to the adaptive reuse of the building, the installation invokes the agricultural history of Southern California and connects the produce industry that once passed through the historical 7th Street Produce Market with contemporary design.

The installation includes 21 recycled produce pallets and approximately 700 acrylic rods in varying thickness, individually hand-dipped into pink paint, reflecting on the harvesting process of orchards. The vibrant pink color is reminiscent of the warm orange color, used in the promotional material of the citrus industry. The use of a parametric design strategy enabled the design team to continuously fine-tune and optimize the design without having to reinvent the production, while the production plan informed the design direction.

Location: LA Design Festival, Los Angeles, California [temporary]

Completion: 2018 [ temporary]

Design Team: David Thompson (Principal-in-Charge), Richard Thompson, Can Jiang, Gregory Marin, Ignacio Bruni, Jennifer Garrett, Jooyoung Chung, Lori Ward, Melanie Mabugat-Wagner, Michael Sweeney, Mitchell Streichhirsch, Raul Aguilera, Runing Wang, Scott Nusinow