Posted by Alissa Walker | 31 Mar 2010 on Core77 | If there’s one thing wide, sprawly Los Angeles can pride itself on having, it’s an abundance of space. But now, as I walk though neighborhoods filled with empty box stores and strip malls, I realize we may have far too much of it.

Luckily, we’re also blessed with an abundance of creatives who have the desire to occupy it. Emi Fontana has filled vacant retail stores with art installations, and even used an empty modern house high in the hills above Pasadena to install a site-specific installation by Olafur Eliasson. In L.A.’s Chinatown, Wendy Yao sells a collection of zines, handmade jewelry and records out of a miniscule strip mall, which has led to a variety of unusual temporary venues. Nearby, Mark Allen uses his small storefront as a place for identifying (and eating) edible insects, holding welding classes and orchestrating temporary takeovers of entire museums. Alyssa Walker explains:

“The fact that creatives have founded true cultural centers and succeeded in doing it in a place as notoriously scattered as Los Angeles makes me believes their concepts are true models for success.

There’s a reason this is the age of the pop-up shop: space is available, and it’s yours for the taking. Use this moment when you’ve got a little extra downtown to inhabit the empty space next door, or some available space in your office that’s looking a bit lonely.

Spaces need to go beyond simply serving as eye candy—they need to provide a service for their audience.”

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