City Council will review the latest plan for the long-gestating Melrose Gathering Place in West Hollywood’s Design District. The project was initiated in 2019 and has undergone several design revisions since then, in response to community feedback.
The initial plan called for a public gathering place at the location, and the first design emerged through three rounds of workshops between city staff, design consultants, and a specially formed Design District Working Group, followed by three additional community meetings. A majority of participants at the community meetings preferred a park-like setting featuring shade trees, a combination of soft and hard permeable surfaces, and public art, designed for passive uses such as reading, relaxing, and conversing with friends, but not intended for large, intensive public events such as festivals or performances.
From July 2019 to June of 2021, the original design concept was developed and shared in various meetings with the Design District Working Group, the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC), and the community. However, the proposed plaza design and art installation were met with reservations from the community and in conjunction with other concerns related to its execution was ultimately abandoned.
In September 2022, a new design process was initiated that included the commissioning of a team comprised of the landscape architects Pamela Burton & Company and artist Karon Davis to jointly reimagine the space. The new design, now known as “Weaver’s Walk,” draws inspiration from the Design District’s textile industry and includes a strolling garden, large specimen oak trees, pollinator-friendly landscaping, a water bottle refilling station, and a new public artwork by Karon Davis.
The strolling experience will encompass a habitat garden that will increase site permeability beyond the original design and incorporate an overhead tree canopy within the context of a natural area of respite. The primary circulation path through Melrose Gathering Place is ‘Weaver’s Walk,’ which is inspired by Davis’ artwork. This pedestrian footpath weaves through the landscaped areas and features graphic patterned paving inspired by West African Guro cloth textiles. A fully accessible permeable path sweeps through the pollinator gardens, creating an intimate garden experience that includes custom benches that encourage short-term passive uses.
Features such as large boulders and truncated domes along the pathway will be used adjacent to the two driveways for pedestrian safety. The two featured tree species will be a series of large specimen oak trees, which will be a distinctive shading element throughout the year, and forest pansy redbud trees, which are deciduous and sprout rose-pink flowers during the winter and spring, complementing the artwork and bringing a sense of annual variety to the space.
Site lighting will consist of down-lighting in trees and Design District pedestrian pole lights. Lighted bollards will be incorporated into the design at the existing driveways and along walking paths, and the sculpture will be encircled with feature up-lighting. Landscaped areas will be maintained 30” and lower to provide clear sight lines throughout the garden.
Rising above a grove of flowering redbud trees is Karon Davis’s figural sculpture Before Picasso. The artwork is evocative of a heddle pulley, a type of loom pulley used in West Africa among various ethnolinguistic groups, most notably the Senufo, Baule, and Guro people. Placing the fiberglass sculpture on the south side of Melrose Avenue and Norwich Drive brings the sculpture in dialogue with the Pacific Design Center’s abstract vernacular style, bold color schemes, and the monumental chair and lamp elements.
This is barely beyond a generic project. The neighborhood seems to have tired of the ca 10 year process guided by Director of Art and ACAC. Something very unsettling about this project and selection of the participants. The landscape designer seems appropriate, not special but far better than the prior designer. Do the Public Art contributors come from the Director’s previous stable? The price tag on this rather insignificant fuschia sculpture is embarrassing. Seems as though the city might have received some input from Ben Soleimani who appeared to express disapproval. He said he was advised days ago. Nothing adds… Read more »
The contractual arrangement with the sculptor states $185,000 for ArtWork. Attachment B of Staff Report..
Honestly, this is just classic WeHo. Spend like drunken sailors to implement the “vision” of designers who don’t live here. You know what the businesses need? “Weaver’s Walk?” No. Wishing wells? Not really. Wacky Water Wiggles? How about some parking spaces? Not only is this continuing boondoggle like manna from heaven to MAGA Mooks wanting to paint WeHo as full of airy-fairy, out of touch fools, it does nothing to help businesses or residents. It only pads the resumés of the many “consultants” being paid a fortune in opine.
You are correct. Amateurs padding their resumes while highly overpaid. The city with all its “Public Art” looks like a juvenile art fair. Please someone point out avsingle credible art installation that would make it outside of WeHo. This could be entitled Junk Art being endorsed by ACAC Commissioners who are without a professional in their ranks. Very sad these people are delusional.
A sad re-try. There are corporate industrial parks up and down SoCal that look just like this: Rancho Dominguez (nice name for a part of Compton), Orange, Yorba Linda, Irvine, etc.
We can do better.
god forbid you just have a wider sidewalk maybe with some trees along it (that unlike Robertson won’t tear up the concrete in 20 years)? i hate to see money spent on things like this wheh it will be destroyed by homeless people traipsing & trampling it
When will Meth Mews be ready?
How long before Hobo’s Hole is completed?
Wuz da cost of this vs the use and benefit to the Residents of WeHo?
How much has already been spent on at least now 2 complete plans for this “streetscape?
How about grass and low water use bushes, and go ahead and buy a bench people can sit on.
Free of charge.
The design-oriented “Weaver’s Walk” is a costly project for a tiny area. Spending over half a million dollars on landscaping and public art seems disproportionate, especially when the site isn’t intended for large public events.
“Strolling under overhead canopy trees” will be lovely provided they plant mature trees. Is this the plan?