Downtown Los Angeles, CA
High above the crisp regency patterns of the lobby at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles — every detail carefully selected by our old friends at Commune Design, with eastern light glossing every surface — something a little looser begins to take shape.
Artists Simon and Nikolai Haas are hard at work on a larger-than-life mural populated by intimate pencil drawings of figures and landscapes both familiar and forgotten, like ancient film stills burned into into a projection screen long after the last pair of eyes to appreciate it has left the theater. It’s a visual history of Hollywood closer to hieroglyphics than hi-def graphics.
The hallucinatory zeal of the Haas Brothers’ custom fabrications has won them high-profile commissions on the order of Versace, Guerlain and Gaga, but it was the simplicity of Simon’s fast, freehand portraits and sketches that drew the attention of Commune co-founder Roman Alonso when imagining ways to give these blank lobby walls an unexpected, vital role in the new space.
The drawings themselves are neither fully immersive nor entirely remote, highlighting the compromising situations our cultural icons occasionally tumble into. The brothers “present, rather than venerate” their subject matter, yielding interpretation over exaltation as history continues to write itself, with or without us.
Article by Christopher Mauldin
Photos by Jacqueline Bao