On a sloped plot in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, an almost 100-year-old anonymous bungalow was rendered in pink, referencing the sun-kissed stucco that's so common in the region.
Mexico City-based architecture firm PRODUCTORA completely remodeled and renovated the home of graphic designer Jessica Fleischmann, daughter of Ernst Fleischmann, who led the Los Angeles Philharmonic and commissioned Frank Gehry to build the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Over the 15 years she lived in the home, she developed a strong connection to the neighborhood and the house itself, which inspired her to renovate it. With her strong affinity for design, she was thoroughly involved in the creative process, including selecting the particular colors that are interspersed throughout the renovation and extension of the house.
"We worked together, back-and-forth for months, to refine the exact tonalities," says PRODUCTORA. "It was unique to have the input of someone who works so precisely with color."
As the firm's first project in the United States, they took inspiration from the seemingly mundane shape of the bungalow. They decided to maintain its historic character and preserve the original exterior by underpinning the dwelling and further excavating the existing basement, allowing the interior to open out towards the backyard. The existing structure's fleshy pink siding is starkly contrasted by the new blue framework, poetically denoting the two different moments in time with their own respective color codes.
The extension literally extends into the outdoors by way of a grid-like steel frame they added just behind the bungalow's rear. Six cubic squares make up the framework of the addition, which includes covered terraces, the upstairs master bedroom, and two new interior spaces that are incorporated into the kitchen area on the lower level. The placement—just a few feet shy of the original facade—creates a transitional space that mediates between the house and garden, protecting it from the afternoon sun.
Focusing on a minimal material palette, elements of the design are reinforced and repeated to create a cohesive set of interconnected spaces. The same marble that lines the bathtub also forms the kitchen countertop. Highlighting the tension between texture and solid color, the architects incorporated oak wood and concrete flooring with wooden cabinetry painted in soft pinks and dark green.
"We wanted to use full colors, without grain or texture—just plain colors. The textural elements come from the marble, concrete, and materials that have a natural grain embedded within them."
Like the Grid x Line notebooks designed by Fleischmann, simple articulations of visual elements create minimal, yet profound aesthetic expressions in space. This play on composition and form is at the heart of the design, and a seminal characteristic of the firm's design vocabulary. "When we saw these booklets, we immediately knew she has the same affinities as we do. She devises her design from a minimal set of ideas, expressed with such visual conviction."