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CleanTech Runner-Up Has Floating Buildings, Pink Elephants, Tram

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Cleansing umbrellas are cool and everything, but what if they hovered over pink elephants as you glided by on a tram? SCI-Arc and the Architect's Newspaper's CleanTech Corridor competition asks for hypothetical versions of the Community Redevelopment Agency's real-life project to create a green industrial zone near the Arts District. The second place winner in the professional category was Greenoplasty, from a design office called Labtop, based in Paris and Venice (LA). The team members are Thomas Sériés, Vincent Saura, Vuki Backonja, Amanda Li Chang, and Eduardo Manilla. They decided to "compress the nearly four mile site by implementing a local tram way, then rezoning specific areas in order to give space back to the pedestrian."

The streetcar would run down Mateo, and the streets crossing it "would be cut off from traffic, essentially given back to the pedestrian. These pedestrian streets would then be finished with colored pigment or punctuated with elephants, each terminating at a vertical garden in order to shift the function of the streets from spaces of conveyance to a series of destinations," so that "'You can find me on Industrial Street, just past Jesse,' becomes 'You can find me on the green street just past the elephants.'"

The floating cube is a model Cleantech facility that "floats over the city like a balloon restrained only by thin cables. A cube sits on a mirrored base, its connection to the ground obscured by a chaotic cloud creating a trompe l'œil that evokes the impossible...The construction of the model Cleantech Facility, like the work of the sculptor, Louise Nevelson, is composed of salvaged elements softened by a monochromatic wash."

The French Sériés just opened the Venice office of Labtop three months ago, and in an email, Backonja tells us that Sériés "is very excited about working in Los Angeles, a city which he believes acts as the perfect venue for highly speculative projects." Of the project, he writes "Really the only solution for us was the most obvious one. That is, to focus on the needs of residents of the Cleantech Corridor without making promises that we cannot deliver today. Whats funny is that in the end the whimsy we created is extremely serious in its commitment to an honest and feasible Cleantech Corridor. What we are really offering is an environment that stimulates the creativity of the Cleantech residents so that they themselves have the inspiration to take us all into a new age."
· Runner-Ups of the Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor and Green District Competition [Bustler]
· Norwegian Umbrella Will Clean Downtown's Industrial Zone [Curbed LA]