A master of modern decorative arts, designer David Wiseman (dwiseman.com) is world-renowned for his bespoke, nature-inspired fine artworks—intricate installations, sculptures, chandeliers, objects, and furnishings, which he painstakingly crafts using bronze, porcelain, stone, plaster, and glass. Born and bred in Pasadena, Wiseman spent his formative years attending Polytechnic School and taking weekend classes at ArtCenter College of Design. After studying furniture design on the opposite coast, at Rhode Island School of Design, he found his way back to Los Angeles about 15 years ago. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, but still finds himself roaming the verdant, tree-lined streets of Pasadena seeking inspiration for his next piece, foraging for fallen branches and limbs that he brings back to his sprawling Frogtown studio and incorporates into his work. Here, the local luminary takes a walk down memory lane and shows us around his Pasadena.
I grew-up in a 1950s, single-story, modified ranch-style home on a beautiful, somewhat secluded street off Oak Knoll. The previous owners had made an innovative addition of a large family room with an expansive curved window that overlooks the garden. / I created my first studio in my parents’ garage when I moved back to Pasadena shortly after college and laid out my first ceiling installation on the same front lawn that I used to kick a soccer ball on. / Pasadena’s architecture has its own authentic style and history, as seen in the incredible examples of Greene and Greene residential architecture. In contrast to many urban centers around the world, Pasadena has its origins in the idea of living in a home with a garden. This close relationship with nature has been pivotal for me. / The grounds of Caltech and its historical buildings are spectacular. I don’t think many Pasadena residents explore and enjoy the beauty of this campus. When I was younger, I loved to catch crawdads, turtles, and frogs in the ponds. / The gelato at Bulgarini Gelato in Altadena is second to none. You can’t beat their pistachio. / Ai Japanese Restaurant in South Pasadena was a favorite spot growing up. It was where I was introduced to sushi as a young person. / The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a favorite. I can’t think of a more diverse and beautiful garden in the world. In addition, their important collection of decorative arts has numerous works that have provided inspiration over the years.