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the arugula beneath my wings

May 21, 2000|Ed Leibowitz

Is it sacrilege to eat a sloppy backyard frank under a canopy originally designed to shield diners feasting on baby arugula salad with shaved pears? "Let's put it this way," says 35-year-old architect Hagy Belzberg of his umbrella. "It raises whatever environment you're in to a higher level."

"The Wing," conceived for Joachim Splichal's Nick & Stef's Steakhouse downtown (and soon to appear at the new Belzberg-designed Plaza Cafe at LACMA), is now available for the home. In designing an alternative to the teak-and-canvas patio umbrella, the architect was inspired by "both a sail and a bird, but mostly a bird in flight," Belzberg says. "Where some umbrellas feel like they're holding back the sky to create shelter, here you are at one with the sky."

Manufactured and developed by J. Miller Canvas of Costa Mesa, the polyester-scrim umbrellas, with powder-coated aluminum and stainless steel frames, are also capable of non-avian permutations. They can fold to one side to ward off a waning sun or collapse entirely for cloudy days. Manufacturer Jim Miller, who has shaded food courts at South Coast Plaza and Century City Marketplace, says that at $1,000 apiece, the Wing might not be for everyone. Maybe not even him. "I have an umbrella in my backyard that I bought from Costco."

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J. Miller Canvas, Costa Mesa, (949) 642-9722.

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