[in]tension explores the temporal social threads within the changing city of Los Angeles. Through the repetition and variation of a single element (common, quotidian mason’s string) strung within a spatial framework that creates space, backdrops, and cover the piece invites the viewer to meditate on the ties that bind, lines that separate, and webs that ensnare.

Masons-string serves as ‘guidelines’ during construction— abstract lines made physical for brief moments. These ephemeral markers employed by the skilled craftsmen and laborers as precursors to buildings, spaces, and dwellings they may never inhabit.  These guides are the first instantiation of walls, fences, and lines of exclusion.

This site is pregnant with these connections and transitions. The City Market was originally founded by a consortium of white, Japanese, and Chinese farmers—almost all recent arrivals to southern California–bound together as Angelenos and partners.  Together, they created a social fabric and vibrant space that survived the Japanese internment during World War II.  After years encircled by fences, the Japanese farmers and vendors returned to this same knot of business and personal relationships in this same place.

These strands can also be read as the open, unfinished warp of the loom. Surrounding this place, other recent arrivals have made their first contributions as Angelenos in the garment factories and in so doing, adding the weft of their culture to the fabric of the city.  As this site and city continue to change, [in]tension is a brief, temporary homage to the immigrant-labor that has built it—the farm-workers of the market, the piece-workers of the Fashion District, and the building tradesmen.


Location: 2017 LA Design Festival, Los Angeles, California [temporary]

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

Awards: Architizer  A+ Awards, Pop-Ups & Temporary, Finalist (2018)