Architecture // Our September Future of Women Breakfast in LA

In February, we launched Future of Women Breakfasts,
a monthly women's breakfast series to elevate women’s voices.


In February, we started hosting Future of Women breakfasts in Los Angeles, beginning with a conversation about Diversity in Film. In March, we talked about Human Rights, Journalism, and Geopolitics, in April we spoke about Food Entrepreneurship, and in May we hosted two breakfasts - an LA breakfast on Music and Activism and a Mexico City breakfast on Art + The City. In June, we talked about Women and Sports, and in July, we traveled to Tel Aviv to host a breakfast on Storytelling. This month, we returned to Los Angeles to host a breakfast on Women in Architecture. A special thank you to Chef Antonia Lofaso, DAMA, City Market South, and our speakers for welcoming us into your worlds of food, architecture, and design!




Yesterday, women from across Los Angeles and from a range of industries - from fashion to journalism to design to public policy to culinary arts - joined us for delicious food and conversation! We welcomed four incredible speakers to share how they are using architecture to improve the design of public projects and civic planning, to preserve history and culture, and to think about how emerging technologies change the way we design and make things in the future.


We gathered at DAMA in Downtown Los Angeles in the Fashion District at City Market South. Chef Antonia Lofaso, the talented chef behind DAMA, “Downtown LA’s Most Exciting New Restaurant,” treated us to delicious flavor-forward dishes and shared with us how her travels to Spanish, Latin American, and Caribbean countries inspired these creations. Chef Antonia is best known for her roles on Top Chef, Restaurant Startup, Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, Best Thing I Ever Ate and most recently, Food Network’s Guys Grocery Games. Antonia Lofaso is one of America’s most beloved chefs and is currently the Executive Chef and Owner of Black Market Liquor Bar (Studio City, California) and Scopa Italian Roots (Venice, California) and her newest concept DAMA (Downtown Los Angeles, California).


Chef Antonia prepared a delicious breakfast for us, including crispy biscuits with fresh ricotta, honey, hazelnuts, apples, raisins on the vine, chilled oats with chia seeds, berries, almonds, vanilla, smoked fish with pickled veggies, and shaved fennel onion capers on toasted bread, and frittata with potato caramelized onion arugula and parmesan.


As we enjoyed the innovative mix of flavors, we dove into a conversation with our panel of women who are pushing the boundaries in architecture. Last week, The New York Times published an article about the rise of women in architecture ("Architecture Is No Longer Just a ‘Gentleman’s Profession’"), so our conversation was very timely!


In keeping with our theme of Women in Architecture, we heard from Carolina Wicker, the designer behind DAMA. Carolina shared how she worked with her team to transform the Pacific Banana Co. building into the lush indoor/outdoor, deco-tropical, Latin-inspired restaurant and bar that we see today.


Our speakers included:

 Radha Mistry has a background in architecture, narrative environments, and strategic foresight. In the Office of the CTO (OCTO) at Autodesk, Radha explores the impact of emerging technologies and how it will change the way we design and make things in the future. Prior to Autodesk, Radha focused on the Future of Work with the Steelcase Applied Research group. Her work sought out ways organizations could drive Innovation through design. Previous to Steelcase, Radha was part of the Arup Foresight + Innovation team in London and San Francisco, crafting speculative futures for global clients; and was one of the original co-founders of GOATstudio in New Orleans — bringing some “swagger” and better opportunities for young architects. Radha has also exhibited during the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and worked on design-led community engagement initiatives in cities across Europe.

Elizabeth Timme is a third generation architect born in Houston and raised in Los Angeles. Watching her parents build in remote locations and start a design school meant that Elizabeth grew to see the practice of architecture as a community-based profession. Growing up in Texas where land use planning and zoning is limited and California where exclusionary zoning practices are historic, Elizabeth is excited by the challenge of Los Angeles where rules are plentiful but often contradictory. Elizabeth co-founded LA-Más because she saw a need for a design approach to be integrated early on in public projects and civic planning. She believes designers can help create a unified vision, identify creative alternatives, and work in partnership with communities. Elizabeth provides leadership at LA-Más by ensuring all projects are thoughtfully designed and critically engage systemic problems. Elizabeth has extensive experience in architecture and construction administration having worked at MASS Design Group, Ball-Nogues Studio, and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca. Elizabeth has taught design-build studios at Woodbury University’s Agency for Civic Engagement (ACE) Center and serves on the Zoning Advisory Committee of Re: Code LA, a city-led effort to transform the city’s outdated zoning code. She holds a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Southern California. LA-Más was recently featured in Architectural Digest and Metropolis Mag for "Revitalizing Los Angeles’s Overlooked Corners."

Maryam Eskandari is the Principal at MIIM Designs, an architectural design practice dedicated to the advancement of design, dialogue with history, theory, and context, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Eskandari received her Bachelors of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona where she won the J. Douglas Mac Neil Architecture Fellowship in design. She received her Masters of Science in Architecture in history and theory, (SMArchS HTC) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology's prestigious Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture where she was the Aga Khan Fellow for two years. Currently, she is the founding principal of MIIM Designs and teaches architecture and design at Harvard University and Boston Architectural College. Prior to establishing MIIM Designs, Eskandari was Project Designer at DLR Group, where she led several award-winning projects. MIIM Designs has been recognized with numerous awards, publications, and exhibitions. In 2012, MIIM Designs was awarded the "Faith and Form Award" from the American Institute of Architects. Recently, MIIM Designs was the architect for the new Children's Museum of Manhattan's America to Zanzibar exhibit in New York. Eskandari serves on the Board of Open Architecture Collaborative, Harvard's FDR Foundation, and the 1947 Partition Archives.

Karina Andreeva pushes the boundaries of who an architect is and how the practice can expand to provide necessary services to nontraditional clients. After working in a variety of firms, from small boutique studios to interdisciplinary offices, as well as collaborating with non-profit organizations, Karina is now Studio Lead at see arch. a design and research office engaged in crafting physical space and experiences located in Oakland, as well as the Director of Free School of Architecture 2018. She is also 1/2 of EDKA Studio, a feminist design lab inquiring into the future of public space through co-design, curious site analysis, and playful prototyping. Karina is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia and studied Architectural Design at Parsons, The New School for Design. 

Future of Women founder, Hallie Applebaum, moderated the conversation.


Special thanks to Chef Antonia Lofaso for a delicious breakfast, to our talented speakers Radha Mistry, Elizabeth Timme, Maryam Eskandari, and Karina Andreeva, to Chani Hitt, Vanessa Kanegai, Jessie Levine, Olivia Diaz Gonzalez, and Mark Levy from the DAMA and City Market South teams for welcoming us into their space, to Casey Goch for providing Shreebs Coffee, to Olivia Katz for lending a helping hand with day-of logistics, and to Alex Gomez for these beautiful photographs.


See more photos from the breakfast on our social:

Hallie ApplebaumCover, Breakfast