Studio Visit: Ball-Nogues Studio

The firm's new production space (with Nogues at left and Ball at right) was empty when photographer Timothy Hursley visited, but it won't be for long. Ball and Nogues will soon begin work on a major new project called Talus Dome, commissioned by the city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. "It's an earthwork made out of non-earthwork materials," Ball says. The piece—about the size of a single-family house—will be fabricated here in sections, then transported to Edmonton and assembled on-site. "It's going to be interesting," Ball laughs.

Ball-Nogues Studio's previous location was a 2,500-square-foot space in Los Angeles' Old Bank District. In December, it moved to nearby Boyle Heights, and a much larger space—about 12,000 square feet.

Along with the loading dock and roll-up doors, one thing that appealed to Ball and Nogues about the new location was having separate spaces for the studio (shown here) and for production (first slide). Nine people currently work at the firm, but the staff size fluctuates: People tend to be hired on a project-by-project basis. "The organizational model is more akin to film production than traditional architecture offices," Ball says. A local nonprofit, Self Help Graphics & Art, plans to move in eventually and share the space with Ball-Nogues.

Cradle was installed last July on the side of a Frank Gehry–designed parking structure in Santa Monica. Ball and Nogues hoped that the aggregation of mirrored stainless steel spheres would stimulate "creative associations with other things in that particular [Santa Monica] environment," Ball says. "On the one hand, it's glitzy and shiny, to comment on the culture of Santa Monica, and it's shaped like a men's Speedo swimsuit. It kind of looks like sea foam. It's got all these oceanic and beach references."

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