• Veil Craft
    Figure (James Leng and Jennifer Ly)
    Materials & Applications and Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles
    May 28, 2021 to Sep 05, 2021
    James Leng &
    Jennifer Ly

Figure, “Veil Craft” physical model, exterior, 2021. Courtesy the architects

Veil Craft is an architectural installation made of construction scaffolding textiles that explores the untapped aesthetic potentials of this utilitarian material and questions its cultural associations in Los Angeles, a city that is constantly building and rebuilding itself. The installation reimagines the courtyard of the Craft Contemporary, inviting the public to inhabit the interior of a seemingly unfinished construction site. As a spatial and textural intervention, the installation brings forward the everyday, invisible materiality of the city’s changing landscape in order to interrogate it. Issues of accessibility, labor practices, and community engagement are brought into a renewed focus, in which the notion of craft is invariably linked to the act of building. The project aims to activate the public’s interest in the overlooked materiality of our built environment, bringing together expert and nonexpert audiences in conversation about Los Angeles’ material culture, thus bridging industry, craft, artistic, and architectural audiences together. This installation commences a five-year partnership between Materials & Applications and Craft Contemporary exploring craft through art and architecture.

James Leng is a founding partner of Figure, an architectural practice based in San Francisco. Leng is also concurrently a lecturer at University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Architecture. Previously, Leng was the Harry der Boghosian Teaching Fellow at Syracuse University, and has received various accolades such as the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise for immigrant contribution to the arts, the SOM Foundation Research Prize for independent research, and the James Templeton Kelley Prize for best thesis at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Leng has professional experience from numerous international practices including: Michael Maltzan Architecture, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, UNStudio, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Leng holds his master’s degree in architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and his bachelor's of arts in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jennifer Ly is a founding partner of Figure, and a licensed architect in California. She holds her master’s in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and bachelor’s of art degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the recipient of several design honors including the Rotch Travelling Scholarship, Burnham Prize, Harvard’s Department of Architecture Faculty Design Award, and Alpha Rho Chi Medal. Her work has been published in journals including Log, Cornell Journal of Architecture, and The Architectural Review. Prior to establishing Figure, Ly worked on high-profile projects at Foster + Partners in Silicon Valley, Adjaye Associates, and SHoP Architects in New York City. She currently teaches architecture at University of California, Berkeley.