Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht’s Midcentury Apartments – At the time designers Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht arrived in Los Angeles—in 1998 and 2002, respectively—the city was still a relatively sleepy industry town, however high-profile its industry. This was before a host of major New York and European art galleries rushed to open L.A. outposts; before elite fashion brands started cooking up reasons to head west for splashy parties in hip warehouses; and before a cavalcade of international starchitects on the order of Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, and Herzog & de Meuron rolled into town.
In the past two decades, L.A. has emerged as a genuine hub of global culture, beckoning wave upon wave of fresh transplants from around the world. Alonso and Johanknecht, through their work at the multidisciplinary AD100 firm Commune Design, have been prime agitators in this metamorphosis, ambassadors for the new Los Angeles, championing local talent and evangelizing a widely influential vision of California cool. From their groundbreaking work for Ace and other hotel groups to their wide-ranging forays into product and graphic design to their longstanding collaborations with established luminaries and young Turks of art and design—think Alma Allen, Adam Silverman, Stan Bitters, and others—the Commune principals continue to spread the gospel of sophisticated but unpretentious bohemian chic.
While their work evokes images of alluring beaches and bungalows, it may come as a surprise to learn that Alonso and Johanknecht have made their own L.A. homes in a matched pair of 1966 apartment towers in Los Feliz, hard by Griffith Park, a sprawling wonderland of rugged mountain trails, wilderness areas, and famous attractions such as the Deco-era Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theatre, and the Hollywood sign. “Basically, I live in an apartment building, with a doorman, in a park,” Alonso says of the appeal of his 850-square-foot, one-bedroom residence. “I look at nature every day, and I’m in nature, every day. It’s just that I don’t have to take care of it. I’m too lazy to maintain a whole house.”
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Source: Architectural Digest