Sample the Terroir of Ai Weiwei, Tiffany Haddish and Julianne Moore’s Estates
Since the spring of 2020, Richard Christiansen’s Flamingo Estate has grown from selling produce boxes to offering a wide array of made-in-California products, including garden-scented candles, wine and regeneratively farmed olive oil. But before all of that, there was honey. The first thing Christiansen — the founder of the ad agency Chandelier Creative — did upon moving to his densely vegetated seven-acre property in Los Angeles’s Highland Park in 2016 was establish some beehives. As a child in rural Australia, he had been surrounded by his parents’ hives: “It’s just this timeless, beautiful thing that everyone can do,” he says. Earlier this year, Christiansen installed hives in the gardens of a few famous friends and fans of Flamingo Estate, with all proceeds from the resulting honey sold this holiday season going to a number of charities, including Cancer for College and Refugees International. In southern Portugal, the artist Ai Weiwei’s bees are feasting on olive trees. Will Ferrell, Tiffany Haddish and LeBron and Savannah James have hives in different parts of Los Angeles, and Julianne Moore has been hosting hers in Montauk, on Long Island. “These bees are like my children, so I only wanted them to go to the best places,” Christiansen says. (His own swarm was used for the Los Angeles sites; elsewhere, he relied on trusted local apiarists.) Going forward, he plans to introduce his bees to other fabulous gardens. As he sees it, it’s a kind of vacation for these industrious insects. “These bees wake up,” he says, “and they fly out to the most amazing view.” From $250, flamingoestate.com. — Ella Riley-Adams
Designs That Build on the Legacies of Black Creatives
The artist and designer Norman Teague describes his work as being “of the African American culture.” In the case of the two chairs he’s currently developing for Knoll, that meant taking inspiration from the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala., direct descendants of enslaved people who became icons of American craft. The details of the chairs, which he hopes to debut in 2024, are still under wraps, but he promises vibrant color and “a certain level of sexy” to go along with the old-fashioned patchwork.
Having grown up on the South Side of Chicago as the son of a Baptist preacher, Teague was in the M.F.A. program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 when he joined a group of students presenting at Salone del Mobile in Milan. His Sinmi stool, an experimental bentwood rocking chair, earned a place in the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection. “It was a big deal to go from student to exhibitor,” says Teague, now 54, whose pieces since have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among other institutions.
Along with the Knoll project, he’s consulting on furnishings for exhibit galleries at the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and serving as one of the inaugural fellows of the artist Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, a partnership with the Prada Group that funds and promotes Black creators. Currently on view at the Art Center Highland Park is Teague’s eight-foot-tall cabinet of curiosities. “Historically, that type of cabinet has been for rich white men in places of power to house things like stuffed ducks,” he says. Instead, he’ll invite his fellow creatives to, in his words, “preserve Black moments,” envisioning a showcase full of everything from poetry and whiskey bottles to sneakers and art. Also in progress is an arts space on the South Side, which will offer various workshops and house his fabrication studio.
But right now, his top priority is helping his mother, Jean Carol Teague, renew her passport in time to join him next spring at the Venice Architecture Biennale, where his designs will be in the United States Pavilion. Says Teague: “My mama is so proud.” — Allison Duncan