City to pony up $125,000 for Silver Lake saddle sculpture*

Early rendering of Bloomrs monument for Sunset Junction/All That Is Solid

The City Council  is scheduled to vote today on spending nearly $125,000 – or 25% more than initial estimates – to create and install a saddle-shaped metal monument in Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction.

The sculptural piece – officially known as BLOOMRS – was the winner of a design competition held 2-1/2 years ago  to create a public monument to be installed in a new public plaza planned for what is now a patch of asphalt at the junction of  Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards. The winning entry, selected from a preliminary pool of about 60 entries, was shaped like a  giant  saddle of woven steel. The flattened mid section of the saddle, designed by the firm All That is Solid,  would provide room for seating and landscaping while one of the raid tips of the structure would  provide shelter for visitors.

City officials said initially that the entire project was to cost no more than than $100,000.  But after the creators of the winning entry spent several months working with city engineers to refine their design and reduce costs, the entire project was still put on hold until the city found sufficient money to build  BLOOMRS  and the surrounding plaza.   The nearly $125,000 to fabricate the monument will come from Council District 13’s share of money used for redevelopment and community services, according to a motion by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.  “This effort is of special benefit for the residents of the City and for CD-13 and deserves financial assistance from the City,” says the motion.

The money would be used to hire Lexington Design & Fabrication and John Labib & Associates to create the sculpture.  The designers received a $2,500 contest award financed by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

The Silver Lake saddle will anchor the western end of $1.5-million worth of street improvements along Sunset Boulevard that have been delayed for several years.

In addition to the saddle and street improvements, nearly $4 million in county transportation funds have been earmarked to build a 20,000-square-foot transit plaza with solar-powered bus shelters, bike parking and room for a community gathering space on the triangular parcel that is now home to a Jiffy Lube.

* Update: The City Council adopted the motion.


  1. anyone? anyone?

  2. I am just excited to read that the Jiffy Lube will be removed for a community space. Finally Sunset Junction will have a real sense of “place” and not just feel like a series of streets intended to be driven through as quickly as possible. Now if the developer can just get moving on those three awesome mixed-use buildings around here we’ll have a real neighborhood center to be proud of.

    • Uh, if you hadn’t noticed, Sunset Junction already had a real sense of place!

      • Not really – the block immediately east of Sunset Junction has a real sense of place. But the block west of the junction is one of those dead zones that people stay away from. I go to Blossom all the time, but it definitely feels like I’m an interloper as a human in the world of the cars, even just walking from the Manzanita Steps over to the front door of Blossom.

        Finally allowing people to live in the sites of the former Bates Motel and the former architectural salvage yard at the corner of Santa Monica and Manzanita would put more pedestrians on the street, and maybe a couple more people-oriented businesses, and then that block would feel like an extension of the very active and happening area east of Sunset Junction.

    • I think it is a way oversized, obnoxious, in your face piece of crap. And I don’t think we need any monument there — for what purpose? I can think of a ton of needier issues and things to spend that money on than this crap. When I look at this, I think of a place where people must be incredibly full of themselves and shallow. And we will have a HUGE monument to shout that to everyone who sees it — to prove what a pack of narcissists live here. Great. How mindless. Sorry, but to my mind, this touts nothing but the decline of Silver Lake.

      • I’m with Tim. This thing is lame and there are much better uses for the money in the community. Abort!!!

      • Echo Park resident

        Couldn’t have said it better myself! I used to live in this immediate area of Silver Lake until a few months ago. Ever since those adorable 1930s cottage storefronts were needlessly demolished to make way for a development that STILL has yet to break ground, I knew the area was changing for the worse. “Narcissists” doesn’t even begin to describe the politicians and wealthy residents who monopolize Sunset Junction.

        What that intersection needs isn’t a stupid sculpture. It needs shade, plants, places to sit safely, better lighting for pedestrians in the evening — some ingenuity. $125k could put in some nice trees and lighting with cash leftover. Heck, there’s even sidewalks needing repair over there. If someone is still that desperate for a sculpture, there are many local artists who would donate or create something for a low cost. My partner is a local metal sculptor and could create something beautiful for a parklet at a fraction of the cost being proposed here. What happened to “Keep the Silver in Silver Lake?”

  3. Way for art, Boo for overspending.

  4. Any details on the $1.5 million in street improvements?

    IMHO, this saddle seems like a waste of valuable space… but the area could sure use some of the more basic pedestrian improvements like sidewalk bulbouts at the corners of the crosswalks, shade trees, seating, planters, what have you.

    • I’ve seen bulbouts — and they are clearly one of the most dangerous things you can put in.Yet, in they will go, because we must serve the latest fad no matter how dumb. And they will be doubly dangerous with bike lines on a street — forcing cyclists to suddenly swerve into a traffic lane at the corner guarantees deaths because of this design — not if, only when. But that’s OK, because it serves the fad, and we will blame a car driver who was suddenly cut off, not the bulbouts — although no matter the blame, the cyclist will be dead.

    • This particular location doesn’t need a bulbout – Santa Monica Blvd is quite narrow at the junction, and we just need to take that big triangular space of asphalt (and Jiffy Lube) and turn it into a welcoming pedestrian environment rather than a place where it feels like you’re trespassing as you cross the street.

      • @Kenny: I wasn’t referring to a bulb out on the traffic island pictured above. I was thinking more of the four way intersections up and down this stretch of Sunset. It was part of the original study (and I’m hoping the $1.5 million will go towards that.)

        Here’s the study: http://www.compassblueprint.org/Documents/CBResources/LA_METRO_Sunset_Junction_Final_Report.pdf

        Anyway, it’s a small piece of land. I just wonder why the urge to clutter it with a large sculpture. There’s certainly no shortage of street art in the neighborhood… but public green space is pretty hard to come by. I guess I’d just prefer something cheaper and more useful like grass and a tree.

  5. Shouldn’t this be paid for by an assessment district for new development? How many hundred condos are in the pipeline for Sunset Junction?

  6. Wow! This will make a wonderful space for a homeless person to call home and taggers to decorate!

  7. I just wonder if it is worth the effort and isn’t only a lost cause after Gareth tore apart the fabric our our community when he built his wall in front of Cafe Stella. This saddle isn’t going to stitch us back together. Frankly I don’t know what possibly could, and on darker days fear that we can’t even properly be called a community anymore.

    • takes more then a wall of a bar to tear apart a community. aim higher.

    • A tiny little wall ‘tore apart the fabric of our community’? What? Let’s just say that you’re a wee bit (read: extremely) dramatic. You do realize the community of Silver Lake extends waaaay beyond that wall and even beyond Sunset Junction. I’m going to have to call your post satire – kind of limp satire, but it’s good you made the effort.

  8. was wondering what happened to that whole contest and project. of course it got caught up in the city bureaucracy for years even after the project being awarded.. just build it already. sheesh. I think it will look really cool compared to the current nothingness. and for those that don’t, there’s always the el pollo loco design and plenty of strip mall eyesores on sunset for you to marvel at.

    • Agreed. This will be a huge improvement over the current blah cinderblock look currently on display. And I kind of like the saddle design, which harkens back to the roots of SL and the old otters they used to shoot in the area.

  9. Isn’t the whole saddle design taking up space that people could actually use? Just make it a park and forget the monument part. Seems over done and out of place. Nice that they kept those cute shops that were down down in the middle of the night in the rendering……

  10. I thought this died when everybody realized that it was just a big meaningless form with no idea- the low budget metropol parasol. Now years later it is back and we are all calling it “the saddle”. Can we please raise our expectations for art and architecture? This looks like every project at Materials and Applications for the last 6 years. . . just boring .

  11. Explore The Space

    The general feel of that corner has changed much since the tear down of those historic shop buildings and, yes, the building of the wall at Cafe Stella. I’d like to see updated renderings. Also, N.B., the monument looks much more attractive from this angle: http://payload.cargocollective.com/1/2/85594/1543058/SUNSET%20RENDER_675.jpg

  12. I’ve been wondering about what happened here! I remember the controversy on this blog when the design was selected. I was worried that this neighborhood controversy had stuck us in the bad place of getting nothing done, which appears to be exactly the situation with those empty lots that should be housing people, but the neighbors would prefer emptiness to life.

  13. Also, is there any information about those streetscape improvements? The link says that construction will start in 2011 or early 2012, but obviously a lot of the intersections still lack ADA curb cuts, and the bike lanes haven’t been enhanced. Given that the document says that the funding is part of a two-year cycle, did the neighborhood lose out? Or are we still in the works for future rounds here?

  14. Let me state first that I love urban art, sort of cool stuff you see in NYC, Chicago and even SLC, where a flying cow with rockets is just two blocks from the Mormon Temple.

    I just don’t think this is the right art, in the right place — and the right reason to spend 125k when our streets/pavement needs immediate repair, old ficuses going out and replacements coming that we don’t want to die in a month, homeless need assistance, EP Lake looked like a shiny new car and in six months time it seems ruined (snails took out lilies, arrowhead plants, and poss. the restored lotus bed, tho that’s still to be determined).

    Not to mention graffitti removal, trash removal from vacant lots and under underpasses, general upkeep around SL and EP, LA River work, and a thousand other ways that 125k would help.

  15. I’m all for art. How and why does everyone assume it’s just going to be a huge piece of metal? It has “room for seating and landscaping” — I think it’s perfect and iconic and a fabulous idea. Everyone here always finds something to complain about. This is a hell of an improvement.

  16. Super! A totally uninspiring piece of crap that will quickly become a graffiti magnet. The city loves to spend money on these little “art projects” yet they never seem to remember to maintain them (look at how run down Polka Dot Plaza has become.) Shade trees and benches would be a much nicer addition the area and would cost a fraction of what they are spending on this post-modern pringle.

  17. We’re in the end time folks. stay or get out, The choice is yours. Hesperia here we come? Silverlake is on it’s way to becoming the next hollywood and vine. You think the traffic is interlopers are bad now. Just wait between 5 – 7 years when your 2 full time jobs and part time nannying gig are barely making ends meet for your studio apt. you found on craigslist in the “silverlake adj” ad. Yay for the new new new Beverly Center courtesy of the people who brought you Cafe Stella, the fashion show that is Intelligensia, and the geniuses who decorated Los Globos to look like a party promotion from Long Island circa 1996.

  18. …….. from the architectural rendering, it looks like a Huge Hipster Mustache to me

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