How Legendary Designer Arnold Schwartzman Does L.A.

Drew Frist sat down with legendary designer Arnold Schwartzman, OBE, filmmaker, and author to find out what makes Los Angeles is a great design town.



There’s no denying Arnold Schwartzman’s impact on the L.A. design scene. He’s a veritable institution. Arnold moved to Los Angeles from London in 1978 to become Saul Bass’ design director. He then proceeded to become the design lead for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, the Academy Award’s go-to designer, and a recognized filmmaker in his own right. But fewer designers know the depth of his work than should. As a brief introduction, Arnold has shared with us
his Los Angeles. The designer includes his favorite bookstore, a place to get excited about the future, and the reason why Los Angeles is a great design town.

What LA neighborhood do you live in?
My wife, Isolde, and I live in Hollywood. We also lived a number of years in Santa Monica during the 38 years we’ve been in Los Angeles.

If you had to select five words to describe the effect Los Angeles has had on your career they would be…?
Generous, inspirational, gobsmacked, friendly, and star-spangled.

I’m listening to…
Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” on KUSC.

I’m reading…
The script for the movie “Spotlight.”

Do you have a favorite bookstore?
Hennessey + Ingalls in Santa Monica, which has recently moved to Downtown LA. In London, Hatchards in Piccadilly.

If I had a free afternoon, I’d go…?
Crazy!

Favorite museum to visit things from the past?
London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum.

Favorite museum to excite you about the future?
The San Diego Air & Space Museum, Balboa Park.

Please finish this sentence Los Angeles is a great design town because.
Of the many luminaries in its great design community. Since arriving in LA at the invitation of Saul Bass, and later my appointment as the director of design for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, I have enjoyed the association and friendship of so many of LA’s outstanding designers… Adams, Bass, Bright, Clark, Cross, Danziger, Diniz, Donges, Dyer, Eames, Ferro, Follis, Goodman, Greiman, Jerdi, Heimann, Hockney, Hollander, Kavanaugh, Kosh, Miles Runyan, Morioka, the Neuharts, Parkhurst, Prejza, Sandhaus, Street-Porter, Sussman, Usher, Van Hamersveld, Wood, Wurman… to name but a few.


 

Arnold will be taking part in An Evening With Arnold, April 20 at the Moss Theater. The evening’s survey of Schwartzman’s career will highlight brushes with such legendary figures as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, among others. This evening will surely become a master class in how to create a long-standing and notable career.

Register Now


Drew Frist is a multidisciplinary graphic designer and writer. He is a new media advocate and champions creative and crafted design across all media. drewfrist.com

By Jessica Arana
Published March 24, 2016
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