In the 1940s, a pair of handsome, determined entrepreneurs arrived in California to build their vision of an earthly paradise high in the hills above Los Angeles. By the '50s, the flamingo-pink Spanish house at the top of the hill had become a lavish hedonistic enclave, hidden by a lush orchard and dense cactus garden. Over the next seven decades, the Flamingo Estate became the headquarters for a pioneering erotic film company, a creative retreat for photographers and artists, a pirate-radio station, a fanzine publishing company, a political fundraising team, and an unlikely center for cultural self-examination and expanding notions of art.
For the past three years, the estate has been painstakingly restored for Chandelier by Paris-based Studio Ko. New structures and a collection of sculpture and art have been introduced to the site, from artists like David Hockney, Ken Done, Andy Warhol, and Paul Kasper.
The estate’s sprawling garden was revived thanks to the help of French collaborator Arnaud Casaus. With an earth-friendly approach to water management and soil improvement, the old, parched terraces have been reborn, now home to over 150 new species of flowers and shrubs from around the world, including a vibrant fruit and vegetable garden with apples, citrus, plums, pears, avocados, macadamia nuts, olives, and peaches. Together, they provide food and home to a variety of welcome guests, including hummingbirds, owls, butterflies, and bees.
“From culture to horticulture, the goal of Flamingo Estate at Tenemos Garden is to encourage middle fingers and green thumbs — to foster creativity and beauty and pursue creative liberation in everything we do.”
Flamingo Estate is about progress: partnering with groups and individuals working to change the game. Ben Falk and Whole Systems Design are using permaculture techniques to create a "green island” in order to adapt to California’s water crisis. We’re also using the space as a creative retreat that provides a genius loci (“protective spirit”) for culture, horticulture, and as an incubator for individuals with radical business ideas.