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Design, Bitches


Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph of Design, Bitches. Photo by Danny Liao.

Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph are two badass architects quietly leaving their marks on the landscape of Los Angeles, finding as much gratification in smaller projects and artistic endeavors as they do monumental landmarks. Working together under the not-so-subtle moniker Design, Bitches, they approach their work with a sense of humor and lightness that is uncommon in the largely old school, patriarchal world of architecture. With a belief in collaboration and experimentation as well as an appreciation for both the high and lowbrow, the poignant and the ridiculous, they run a multidisciplinary practice whose services extend to interior design, graphics, illustration, and branding. We chatted with the duo about the origin of their name, architecture in LA, and alter egos.

Tell us the story behind the (amazing) name Design, Bitches.

In 2010, we created Design, Bitches in response to the the AIALA ARCH IS___ young architectural talent competition. When presented with the opportunity, we assembled both real and fictional projects into a collective portfolio to illustrate our common interest in a broader, more accessible definition of architecture. Our definition: Architecture is “Design, Bitches”. To us, architecture is not insular but inspired and informed by all types of high and lowbrow culture and we embrace it all. Fortunately for us, the AIALA agreed that our take was intriguing and we won Honorable Mention. Design, Bitches was born.

What is your most ambitious project to date?

Size/scale/complexity of program: The Springs, a vegan/raw restaurant + wine bar + wellness center + yoga studio in a 13,000 sq ft warehouse on Mateo in the Artist District in downtown LA, currently under construction.

Project completed to date: Superba Food + Bread, a 4,000 square foot bakery & restaurant on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, CA. We provided architecture, interior design, and graphic/branding services.

Artistically: Our Heavy installation at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Museum of Art as part of the Almost Anything Goes show this year. We included cast concrete clouds flipping perceptual lightness and mass upside-down, as well as our photographic collaboration with Meiko Takechi Arquillos entitled Masters of Architecture.


Rendering of The Springs courtesy of Design, Bitches

Why did you choose LA to start your firm?

We are both California natives who love living in LA and the creative freedom it breeds. We find inspiration in everything here—from Griffith Park to the local car wash—there is an endless supply of inspiration in this beautifully ugly city.


Superba Food + Bread, photo by Laure Joliet

What decade(s) do you draw the most influence from?

All of them. We are not beholden to any one particular era or style but rather love mixing and mashing up styles from different eras.


Coolhaus Cookbook illustrations courtesy of Design, Bitches

Favorite architectural structure in Los Angeles?

Cathy: Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein residence, Michael Maltzan- Inner City Arts. Rebecca: Griffith Observatory and the LA Times building downtown (love the old/addition mash-up).

Describe your alter egos.

Cathy’s alter ego is a ramen loving hip-hop dancer. Rebecca’s alter ego is a fashion loving private detective.

Interview by Chantal Chadwick

Tagged with: Miscellaneous

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