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THE SCOUT

So open, so Neutra

March 30, 2006|David A. Keeps; Lisa Boone | Times Staff Writer

A good third of the 300 buildings designed by the late Richard Neutra can be found in California, says Dion Neutra, 79, head of the Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design and son of the pioneering Modernist. Eight classic Neutra interiors including Dion's own home, above, will be open for tours, part of an 80th anniversary celebration for the architectural practice of father and son, below. The events, on April 8 and 9, will include a symposium on second-generation architects carrying the tradition of California design, as well as a reunion of Neutra homeowners from across the globe. Dion says the goal is historic preservation. "I got a letter from the Swiss ambassador to Cuba, who lives in a Neutra house in Havana," Dion says, "but there are still many buildings unaccounted for." Tickets and information: www.neutra.org.

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HAPPENING

Tarred and featured

After more than a decade as creative director for the Italian furniture firm Cappellini, Mattia Biagi is staging his first one-man show, "The House in Tar," which opens tonight at Twentieth. Dripping tar on picture frames and candlesticks is "sticky and smells bad," says the former Milanese model, but the results can be surprisingly beautiful -- a Baroque twist on minimalism. He also dips Disney characters in the black stuff, then coats them in a clear finish so they don't stink. The pieces are admittedly goofy but also pop cultural satire. (With prices starting at $800, they had better be.) "I like Mickey Mouse, but I can't hang him on a wall in my house with all of his colors," Biagi says. "But Mickey Mouse in tar is cool." A reception runs from 6 to 9 tonight. 8057 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; (323) 904-1200; www.twentieth.net.

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FINDS

Disney for grown-ups

As if it has not touched every other aspect of American consumer life, the House of Mouse has announced a partnership with Drexel Heritage to produce Walt Disney Signature, a collection that will premiere at the High Point furniture show in April. The line takes its cues from Walt Disney's home and office, some of which bears the imprint of Art Deco designer K.E.M. Weber. Upholstered pieces will have Disney's signature and drawings of his beloved characters, as on the backs of chairs at the recent "Dining by Design" fundraiser in New York, above. Look for the pieces in Drexel Heritage showrooms and online at www.drexelheritage.com this summer.

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SEEN

It all hangs on graphics

"She's a designer's designer," Christopher Farr says of textile artist Kate Blee, who counts Donna Karan and Paul Smith among her fans. For "Cutting," a new collection of rugs including "Casa Cliff Hanger," shown here, Blee looked for inspiration in Roman mosaics, Indian wood block printing and natural leaf forms. The premiere of the graphically powerful designs at Farr's Courtyard Gallery this week coincides with L.A. Design Week. This morning Blee will be at the gallery in support of the collection as well as her hand-painted shawls. 748 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 967-0064.

-- Lisa Boone

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