May 2010

Editor’s Letter—May 2010

Whatever “it” is—a perfect three-point shot, water that seems to defy the laws of physics or a chandelier that opens and closes like a giant blossom— it only looks easy. Ask anyone at the top of his or her game: It’s work (and one could argue, art) to make the complex simple. Form rules.

Kobe Bryant is a basketball savant—imbued with a phenomenal amount of natural ability for the game. He makes it look easy, but to become—and remain—a superstar, he never skipped the basics and always did the drills. As Bryant tells Tom Murray in “White Hot,” he is comfortable in his skin...and, it turns out, in a wardrobe of white, captured beautifully in the photographs of Ruven Afanador.

la times magazine, february2010

The time Murray had with Kobe was limited and intense, but two things are just too good not to share. First, Chris Brew, point guard for the UCSB Gauchos and a model, arrived early to stand in for Bryant while the lighting was adjusted. Afanador asked him to assume the poses Kobe would later be asked to strike.

As soon as he was camera ready, Bryant studied the images of his stand-in on the computer and emulated them with uncanny precision. Then when the very concentrated hour of shooting was completed, Kobe riffed with the young player and posed for photos with his doppelgänger, delighting everyone. The second takeaway is, while it may seem cliché, music does set the mood—and the playlist that photo editor Hannah Harte compiled and played from her iPod was an unqualified success. We've even included a portion of it in the Kobe interview.

Design that is a revelation is everywhere you look in Southern California. In “True to Form” by Gregory Cerio, you’ll see current creations from the latest generation of its practitioners, such as exquisitely crafted porcelain flowers transformed into functional objects by David Wiseman; the mechanical genius of Eddy Sykes animating otherwise inert objects in mind-blowing ways; and the partnership of Alejandro Artigas and Thomas John Curtin Jr. informing the pleasing lines of their furniture with designs that will transcend time—and easy definition.

In “Fountain Head,” Samantha Dunn talks to Mark Fuller, founder of Southern California–based Water Entertainment Technologies (WET), to better understand the wonder that fountains hold for viewers. The company may not be a household name, but its waterworks certainly are: Bellagio, the Tokyo Dome and the newly opened Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

One constant of design is that it please the eye and be practical at the same time. We have done our best to build you an issue that combines the unexpected and the exquisite, shows you something you haven’t seen and lets you discover the wonders that exist all around.