Simply The Best: The 2015 California Home + Design Award Winner For Design Icon


For more than 10 years, Barbara Bestor has graced our state with exceptional architectural contributions. Her firm’s work has created archetypal residences ranging from Mid-century style homes in LA’s Silverlake, Los Feliz and Topanga Canyon and Toro Canyon to a variety of commercial spaces for some of California’s most notable companies, including Stüssy, Beats by Dr. Dre, Roxy, Nasty Gal, Trina Turk, Intelligentsia Coffee, and more. An icon for her visionary approach, Barbara Bestor shares more on her own inspiration and passions.

Who would you consider to be the Design Icon who inspired your career?

When I was in graduate school I became enamored of Ray and Charles Eames, whose approach to design was all encompassing, ranging from buildings to furniture and information. I was very interested in their work for the 1959 American Pavilion in Moscow, the large multimedia display of images that made a visual portrait about democracy and Postwar America.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

I believe strongly that architecture has to work harder in the digital era, by making spaces that allow deeper experiences with art, everyday life and the people sharing the space. My office (a group of people, not just me) believes that design is like oxygen to creative communities, creating an engaged urban life. We like to create design elements that are a thing or a space of beauty but that also challenge the status quo on a conceptual level. We don’t repeat existing tropes but have a great respect and love for design history and are not afraid to revisit.

You have created so many amazing spaces…which do you covet the most and why?

That is like asking a mom which kid she likes best! I love both the simple house I did for myself and my daughters twelve years ago in Echo Park and am very in love with a much grander project we did in Santa Barbara on 160 acres in the mountains! Both are very livable and are great for hanging out and entertaining.

To date, what has been the most notable moment of your career?

I am very proud of the exhibit I organized and co-curated for Deborah Sussman at the Woodbury University Gallery in Hollywood. It came at a very difficult time for her as she was battling cancer that ultimately took her life. She was an amazing woman who deserved recognition and acclaim for her incredible efforts.

In what ways do you hope to inspire young architects and designers who consider you an icon?

I don’t consider myself an icon but I think that architecture is indeed the mother of all design disciplines that it is often isolated, as a field, to a narrow set of definitions. I hope that my practice, which is a bit eccentric, will inspire young practitioners who crave hands-on work and don’t necessarily want to work up a corporate ladder to design with beauty, authenticity and fun.

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