Friday Five with John Lum

As founding principal of John Lum Architecture, John Lum has been designing functional, livable spaces that reflect his clients’ aesthetics for over 30 years by balancing artistry and efficiency. Since its inception, he’s built the firm from a residential studio into a practice focused on designing affordable housing, multifamily housing, retail, and education. John continues to evolve the firm by bridging the demands of sustainable solutions, financial considerations, social purpose, personal expression, and using design to solve complex societal issues. He also serves on the AIASMC board and is active with AIASF. Today, he’s sharing five of his favorite things in Friday Five.

Photo by John Lum of a Stinkhorn mushroom growing in Bolinas, CA

1. Bolinas, CA
My husband and I are lucky enough to have a house in this quiet beach town. It’s a small, supportive community with a classic Nor Cal coastal landscape, and is infamous for ripping down its Highway 1 sign to stay hidden to outsiders. I love the morning fog, the fact that everyone here has an artistic side, strong environmental values (organic farming started here in the 1970s), and it appeals to my inner hippie.

Photo provided by John Lum

2. Water polo
I’ve played the sport (goalie) for over 20 years now, and it’s a great stress reliever. My team is a straight-friendly LGBTQ team and is about 50% male/female, straight/gay, which is unusual for such an aggressive, physical sport. I’ve traveled the world playing the sport, and last year we won a Silver Medal at the Gay Games in Paris.

Photo by Michael Light

3. Photographer Michael Light’s big aerial books
Michael Light is my husband, and his work and his search for meaning continues to be an inspiration for me everyday. Both as a supporter of his art and as an architect, I appreciate his bird’s-eye perspective of the world – human impact on the world can be mesmerizing, awful, and beautiful at the same time – the ultimate definition of the sublime.

4. My dog April
She’s all heart and goofy and just a snorty pig. She’s a reminder to keep things in perspective… and to take the occasional nap when needed.

5. Cloud Gate (The Bean)
Designed by Anish Kapoor, this is one of my favorite public sculptures. I love how the skyline bends and morphs into its mirrored surfaces. Despite the recent controversy around Kapoor (he bought the rights to Vantablack, the blackest black pigment in the world and is refusing to share it), the Bean is smart, joyful, and just plain fun.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.