An Architectural Potluck


Host: Natural Histories for Los Angeles celebrated our final piece of World Wide Storefront programming with a Supper Studio Potluck featuring the Out There Doing It teams, delicious small eats by Anthony Martin of PATAO, and visual treats by Jonathan Crisman of No Style. (Dion Neutra even gave a toast.) A few days before the potluck we asked Supper Studio host Jia Gu to take a break from the prep and answer a few questions.

What is Supper Studio?

Supper Studio is a loose dinner-discussion series organized at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design (AUD). Each evening features an invited speaker, and the evening is hosted in a variety of formats — from midnight sessions with Benjamin Ball and Eddy Sykes to a courtyard lunch with Reinhold Martin. One of the most interesting dinners we hosted was with New Zealand artist Fiona Connor, who presented a stack of unkilned bricks to the guests alongside the material research she conducted on the physical design standards of the university. Other times it follows a more traditional speaker/audience format, where someone like Jeff Kipnis invites another conversationalist and you’re sitting there listening and eating. This is nice too, because I happen to like eavesdropping on conversations.

Why call it a potluck?

The potluck is just another way to describe a collective activity — and in fact the potluck component of this dinner is not with food but with tables. The four teams designed individual segments of a long table which runs from the front entrance of the VDL Neutra House to the back outdoor courtyard, a long continuous surface on which a grid of small eats and cocktail treats are served. We’ll be serving up dishes and questions alike, but like any good host, we won’t make anyone eat or answer.

What’s the best part about getting to host a potluck at Neutra VDL?

There’s a lot of indeterminacy to this dinner which I’m excited and anxious about. We don’t know what the teams have designed, we don’t know if it will fit together or stand up, and we don’t know how the guests will navigate the obstruction of certain pathways and corridors in the VDL. We simply designed the conditions.


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