LOFTS @ CHEROKEE STUDIOS; LA’s FIRST Green Live/Work Lofts (Part 3/5)

Showcase Loft #2 :  The David Bowie Loft

Interview with Award Winning Designer Rogerio Carvalheiro, Principal of RC Design Federation.  


1)  What was on your mind when you started to create this space?

The fact that I have always been in "awe" of David Bowie since I was a child.  Trying to understand who he is and what inspired him was key for me.  After watching most every movie, listening to almost all his music, watching every music video and performance that I could find, and asking people who knew him what he was like, I learned that he is not any of his characters (Ziggy, The Man who Fell to Earth, etc.) but that he is an Artist in the original sense of the word.  This is something that I wrote at the end of the research phase of this project and before I launched into the design phase:

The word that comes up most often from people who know David Bowie is how elegant and stylish he is as David. The other is that he is a true artist who commits fully to his music and his characters. The music he writes and the characters that he chooses to portray always reflect the most cutting edge at that moment in time. He is not afraid to push the boundary and because of this his art always transcends the current trend while memorializes each era.
 My installation will reflect his flawless sense of personal rock 'n elegant style while overlaying aspects of each era that he has forever emblazoned in our minds.

2) what were some of the design elements that designate David Bowie?

Not any one piece designates David Bowie but all of them in unison do.   I chose pieces that were either ultra modern or had a slight historic edge to them.  Think of David Bowie singing a duet with Bing Crosby (established icon with modern icon).   Think of David Bowie in real life (intelligent, well spoken, well dressed, classy) and Ziggy Stardust/Jareth the Goblin King (edgy, showy, magical).  This juxtaposition of old and new and rocker plays itself out in the entire interior design and in that way it is all Bowie.  This juxtaposition is perfectly captured in the table that I designed and had built specifically for this space (the white l lacquer table upstairs).  I call this piece the MashUp Table because it has its super clean modern top juxtaposed by its romantic claw foot legs.  

The other important piece of the installation were the video graphics in which I collaborated with Jayson Whitmore of Royale (  After my intensive research phase we took all those images and favorite clips from movies and compiled them into either a slow moving portrait (upstairs) or a fast paced visual extravaganza (downstairs) that presented reinterpreted Bowie images that helped set the required emotional overlay into our space.  Here are two quotes from Jayson about the video piece downstairs and the video piece upstairs:    

“The video installation downstairs represents the more literal Bowie,” says Whitmore. “To illustrate his ‘show’ side and ‘personal’ side, I juxtaposed the fast-tempo and ambient media based around the music. Overall, it’s intended to entertain, whereas the piece upstairs is more of a fine art experience.’   

"The moving abstract painting is best understood and experienced in the context of the lush interior design elements Rogerio created,” comments Whitmore.


3) what were some of the green elements you use to design the space?

Not any one piece in particular but the entire installation as a whole.  All these furniture selections are either classics or modern day classics that, stylistically, will work for a very long time in varying settings.  In this way, and if a style can be considered green, this approach is because there is no waste of furniture and these pieces can be used again and again.  Amongst the selections are several personal pieces from garage sale purchases or alley finds that I have reconditioned.  I love doing this with all my interiors.  Recycling furniture in LA is easy to do when alleys are often full of misc. pieces ready to be destroyed.  Also, my floral designer Andre Jackson used elements like feathers, bonsais, and planted trees instead of random cut flowers (though we did have a few next to the bed) which minimized overall waste.  The little waste created by the 3 cut lily stems went into my compost which then creates amazing tomatoes in my back yard.

4) what were some of the challenges when you're designing this space? what were you're most proud of?

The challenge, which ended up being an asset, was the difference in light quality between the upstairs and the downstairs of this unit.  The upstairs is light and airy and has a urban feel with a beautiful view of the Hollywood sign.  The downstairs is more moody with its smaller windows and very large open space.  I decided to work with these two elements as apposed to working against them.  Upstairs I created a light, fun, "party in the kitchen" feel centered around the communal table that I designed (The MashUp Table) for this space.  Its all about chatting around the table while you cook and converse.  I approached the downstairs more like a luxury suite in a hotel (having done lots of Hospitality Design in the past) with a sexy lounge area immediately next to a sexy sleeping area (with its own bedside bar).  I call it the ultimate rocker lounge.  Basically, when the party winds down upstairs, you head downstairs for a more intimate, luxurious experience.  

Most proud of?  How seamless the entire installation is between furniture selections, rugs, art, accessories, and emotional content.  Everywhere you looked there was a pairing of items that told their variation of my Bowie theme.


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