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Not Neutral: For Every Place Its Story by Rios Clementi Hale Studios $200

Not Neutral: For Every Place Its Story by Rios Clementi Hale Studios is a sumptuous and massive monograph that takes a comprehensive look at the award-winning, Los Angeles-based architectural firm and its cross-disciplinary work over the last thirty years.

Since 1985, the architects, landscape architects, planners, and urban, interior, exhibit, graphic, and product designers at Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been creating buildings, places, and products that are thoughtful, effective, and beautiful. Their projects range in scope and scale from their award-winning urban design for Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, to one-of-a-kind custom residential homes and gardens, and also to their unique housewares and products they create through their Not Neutral retail brand. Much of their work at all scales, shows their clever use of pattern, color, and materiality in innovative and creative ways.

This book organizes the range of diverse projects not in a conventional chronological way, but instead into poetic chapters that evoke meaning and seek commonality such as: Nature in the City, Dreaming Cities, Wishing & Praying, and Patterns in the Wild. While incredibly diverse in form and function, Rios Clementi Hale Studios’ projects share an underlying goal of approaching each project with the guiding principle that “For Every Place, Its Story.” As Frances Anderton writes in her introduction: “The firm explicitly repudiates the one-size-fits-all “signature” approach that they see emanating from too many celebrated architects’ offices. For them the goal is precise customization.” Indeed, for Rios Clementi Hale Studios, finding the authentic narrative that drives each project has resulted in a body of work that is both inspiring and unexpected.

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