Rebecca Rudolph and Catherine Johnson
Laure Joliet Rebecca Rudolph and Catherine Johnson

Firm name: Design, Bitches
Location: Los Angeles
Year founded: 2010
Firm leadership: Catherine Johnson, AIA, Rebecca Rudolph, AIA
Education: Johnson: B. Interior Architecture, University of Oregon; M.Arch., Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc); Rudolph: M.Philosophy, Université Paris 8; M.Arch., SCI-Arc
Experience: Johnson: Bestor Architecture, McCall Design Group.; Rudolph: RST Design, Bestor Architecture, Taalman Koch Architecture, Michael Maltzan Architecture
Firm size: Six
How founders met: Working together at another small firm in Los Angeles.

courtesy Design The site for B+B House hosts a bungalow-style residence and guesthouse/studio with rectangular volumes slid into the upper floors for expanded living space. An outdoor area connects the two structures.
courtesy Design

We founded Design, Bitches with a bold and irreverent vision to make architecture significant in daily life. By experimenting with materials and graphics, we provide durable contemporary designs that wink at history.

First commission:
Coolhaus Culver City: it started with a mural and ended up with a larger project and partnership on multiple future collaborations.

Favorite project:
Our favorite project is always changing and tends to be the one most recently opened—we believe that architecture isn’t complete until it’s full of life. We love to see our projects filled with people.

Laure Joliet For the Lodge Room performance space and Checker Hall restaurant—both part of a revitalized 1923 Masonic Lodge—Johnson and Rudolph retained the building’s old-world charm by salvaging original wallpaper and elaborate wood trim.

Second favorite project:
The next one on deck—we love a challenge and the process of strong collaboration between clients, engineers, artists, and builders.

Origin of firm name:
The name is the response to the question: “Architecture is [fill in the blank]?” It was posed by the AIA Los Angeles Chapter as part of the first competition we entered as collaborators. Our answer? “It’s design, bitches!”

Laure Joliet The duo remodeled a bungalow in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, removing its single-car garage and adding an art studio/guesthouse to the back of the lot, enabling better use of the outdoor space.
courtesy Design

Architecture heroes:
Rudolph: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Tokyo-based SANAA. Their work is poetic and straightforward at the same time; Johnson: French designer and architect Charlotte Perriand. Her work was always compelling, thoughtful, and innovative.

Modern-day design hero:
Patricia Urquiola. She draws on a huge variety of inspirations as well as material research and technical innovations—and the work is constantly evolving.

Laure Joliet Daylight moves freely through the indoor–outdoor space of the Counter Culture Coffee store, in Los Angeles, thanks to a skylight and translucent green, corrugated fiberglass panels set into a seating area of solid oak and knotty cedar plank. The volume also features an expansive deck and drought-tolerant garden.
Laure Joliet

Special items in your studio space:
A palm-size polished chunk of Malachite, plants, and photography.

Design tool of choice:
Rudolph: Pens and trace. Johnson: 3D model—digital or physical—and a fat Sharpie pen.

Design aggravation:
Rudolph: Stucco box frame detailing on façades. Johnson: Anything resembling a human organ.

Repeating archways and sun motifs create continuity between juxtaposed dark and light seating areas of a Taiwanese soul food restaurant in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Laure Joliet Repeating archways and sun motifs create continuity between juxtaposed dark and light seating areas of a Taiwanese soul food restaurant in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Laure Joliet

Memorable learning experience:
Meeting the other finalists for the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture, for which we were shortlisted in 2016. An incredible group of women from all over the world with unique practices and approaches.

When I’m not working in architecture, I:
Rudolph: Spend time with my kids—as much as possible outdoors in nature; Johnson: Am at the beach, in the mountains, anywhere out of the city!

The best advice you have ever gotten:
Be honest about who you are and what you’re interested in and you’ll find like-minded collaborators.

courtesy Design For tapas restaurant Little Octopus in Nashville, Design, Bitches created a retro Miami interior using florals, pinks, and clean lines. The project won the 2017 AIA Los Angeles Restaurant Design Award.
Lisa Diederich

Biggest challenge in running a successful practice:
Management and leadership. We are constantly learning and evolving.

Architects should be be discussing:

Rudolph: When you spill salt you have to throw a bit over your left shoulder.; Johnson: Never make a toast with water.

Skills to master:
Rudolph: Leadership; Johnson: Focus

Morning person or night owl?
Rudolph: Night owl; Johnson: Morning person