The Imaginists of Oh La La Land, Part 3: Marc Ange, AWP, and (FER) Studio

by flaunt

We commissioned leading architects to imagine the Paris/L.A. fusion city of Oh La La Land.


Marc Ange is a French-Italian designer raised in Paris. Originally a car-designer for Pininfarina and Bertone, his creative agency Bloom Room has 2 studios in Paris and Los Angeles.


I believe that Paris and Los Angeles are two cities as different as they are complementary.

Paris excels at seducing by what it is, L.A. by what it is doing. Paris disappoints nobody, but promises nothing beyond its sensational beauty. L.A. is hopeful and its beauties are hidden from the eyes of passers-by.

Paris stuns by its lighting at night, but in the daytime, its sky is grey.

In L.A., every day the sun gives unique colors to the sky, but its nights are dark and empty.

The City of Lights takes its nickname from thousands of candles put in its windows by its inhabitants in the Middle Ages, to try to make the city less dangerous at night, and The City of Angels is also one of devils.

Paris is L.A.’s counterpart and L.A. is Paris’ one.

I drew this imaginary lounge as a reality floated between two complementary worlds. From the soft Californian freshness, to the strict Parisian elegance; from the nature to the sophistication, from the destitution to the refinement, from the dumped to the staged, from the cartoon to the history, from the rock to the poetry.




AWP are a leading Paris-based, international architecture firm under the leadership of Marc Armengaud, Matthias Armengaud, and Alessandra Cianchetta. They recently designed the 400-acre La Défense business district masterplan, which included reimagining the million square feet of public space beneath La Grande Arche.


The drawing presented here merges the artificial underground topography of Paris—as planned in its second modernity—with L.A.’s fabric and sensual topography.

The angular multi-layered, subterranean world of La Défense is overlapped with the curvaceous topography of the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills, with the scenic Mulholland Drive in-between, as if a border. The two worlds collide, merging different scales in a blurred super-position.

What defines our approach to architecture and to cities is the way that soft and hard, slow and fast, rough and smooth, natural and artificial co-exist and collide.

Betty Elms meets Monsieur Hulot.

In Paris, we chose a location both emblematic of modernization in post-war Europe, and notorious for its disconnected and inhospitable environments. The only high rise cluster in an otherwise exceptionally homogeneous city—in skyline, materials, textures and urban composition, the CBD also represents a reference and a tribute to American Modern Architecture and an idea of modern living.

This mega infrastructure is only apparently driven by rationality: it indeed seems much closer to radical—even utopian—architecture. It aimed at rationally separating flows and activities but ended up being an “unpredictable and irresistible” site. The place shows a somehow dystopic image of modernity. Not even a Clay or a Patrick Bateman here, making the subterranean deck a scene for pulpy noirs. The hardness and the greyness of the concrete deck contrasts with L.A.’s soft topography, merging in grid only disrupted by hardcore “unforgiving” freeways infrastructure. As English architectural critic Reyner Banham puts it, Los Angeles breaks all urban rules compared to Paris or to London. Paris’ highly codified and choreographed gloom and pompous seriousness merges wonderfully with a landscape of delusional, somewhat toxic, yet always-appealing happiness.



(FER) studio is an award winning multidisciplinary architecture and urban design office based in Los Angeles. Lead by Principal Christopher L. Mercier, they explore the condition of contemporary abstraction, spatial imagination and the relationship of painting, sculpture and architecture.


Somewhere between Paris the City of Love and Los Angeles the City of Angels there might be a place. A place where Angels can be seen strolling the streets on a regular basis and where they have woven a sort of urban blanket that floats over the city like a delicate cloud. A collection of hopes, dreams, and desires of what a city could really be, all fabricated from the imagination of its dwellers. A city where with enough shared love between its inhabitants, one can trace across bridges, along paths, over networks, and actually maybe even touch the clouds. A place with intimate gardens with connecting walkways, linking to large open spaces that transform into networks of spatial environments, some overhead, some underneath, some off to the side. A place where scale and space start to implode, so that the 12 lane freeways that bisect neighborhoods, compress into connected cobblestone walks and then back again, and the sound of music spills from exhaust pipes filling the streets with lyrical joy. It’s a city where urban-scale at the macro (Los Angeles), and urban scale at the micro (Paris), have somehow merged to become one. This conglomeration allows the larger global networks of connectivity— social, digital or other—to comingle with smaller more intimate face-to-face personal social networks of local commuities, creating a sort of intimaCITY.

Oh La La Land—intimaCITY is a fictional proposal for a more livable global city. One envisioned through an imaginative investigation on how communication flows across varying scales of distance, space and experience. A city striving for more personal connective experience through the development of pedestrian scaled streets and spaces, intermixed into a larger angelic halo of urban infrastructure that, although grand in size, still scales down, slows down, and increases the palpable opportunity of intimate exchange between people, place and environment.

View Part 1  here and

Part 2 here.