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Parallel House


Imagining Life Inside CHIAOZZA’s Dreamhouse, Which I’m Sure Exists in LA

By Janelle Zara

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Aerial Angle of Parallel House
From the pool of Parallel House

For a Brooklyn-based practice, CHIAOZZA has always stuck me with a profoundly Los Angeles vibe. Let’s start with their shapes and colors—the kinds of blobs and squiggles and Dayglo pinks that do not emerge from cities aligned with the grid. This is the visual language of David Hockney, of Coachella, of thorny, spikey, wild plants that thrive in vast and wild tracts of sandy exposed soil. This is the ultra-saturated palette of a place where the sun is always bright and the flowers are perpetually in bloom, where the sky is big and tinted in gradients. Their finishes aren’t glass or steel, the kind that glint and burn when exposed to the sun; their surfaces are the forgiving texture of stucco, which radiates a gentle warmth when left out in the heat.

Angled front of Parallel House

Imagine the CHIAOZZA dreamhouse is my dreamhouse. Where do we live? Based on the photographs, we’re deeply secluded from the neighbors, without any surrounding landscape, hills or sky. I’m convinced, then, that this house exists somewhere deep in The Imagination, a neighborhood tucked into an unassuming corner of L.A. Just look around this town: every single house is different from the one next to it. An imitation Italian Villa next to an imitation midcentury glass box next to an imitation Tudor, all lined up on Beachwood Canyon Drive. Every single house is the figment of a different dreamer’s imagination—and every single one of them probably worked in the movie industry.

Wide Angle of Parallel House
Deep Angle of Parallel House

The concept of the dreamhouse, I think, must have been a Los Angeles invention. Los Angeles, in opposition to New York, is the capital of domestic bliss. Here, the home reigns supreme, trumping concepts of public life and its spontaneity and porousness. Domestic bliss is secluded, planned, invitation-only. We did not need a pandemic to learn to stay home and bake bread; we already thrived on long stretches of hiding from other people; “staying in tonight”; and throwing the occasional party when it comes time to socialize. Recall that the late Hugh Hefner had a dreamhouse in Holmby Hills; it was called the Playboy Mansion. Recall also that Barbie had a dreamhouse; I think she was from Malibu.

Angle back deck of Parallel House

The CHIAOZZA dreamhouse, my dreamhouse, is the best of both worlds: that roofless, doorless, largely wall-less type of indoor-outdoor living they’re always talking about in Southern California, where manmade comforts converge with the wonders of mother nature. In my dream house, time is an illusion, a social construct; here adherence to time is 100 percent a choice. There are no clocks, no scheduled zoom meetings, only the movement of light and shadow as the sun traces its path along the sky. Throughout the year, from day to day, this movement is never fixed; the day stretches and contracts according to the seasons. In my dreamhouse, nothing is prescribed; you eat when you’re hungry, you sleep when you’re tired. There are no screens or sensations of FOMO, nor the will to purchase anything. In Chiaozza’s dreamhouse, there are no beds, because we come here when we’re dreaming, which means that we must already be asleep.

Back Angle of Parallel House
Through Living Room of Parallel House