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James Hubbell’s Iconic Ilan-Lael: Open House This Sunday

On 17, Jun 2010 | 2 Comments | In Artists, Et cetera | By man-admin

“The emotional content of a building is a direct link to where we place ourselves in the scheme of the universe.” – James T. Hubbell

Art/mosaic/architectural lovers who live in Southern California will have the rare opportunity this Sunday to visit James Hubbells extraordinary home and compound, Ilan-Lael. This once-a-year event will take place in Santa Ysabel (San Diego area) from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and is a fundraiser for the Ilan-Lael foundation.

Tickets are highly prized and are $10 cheaper if purchased in advance. To buy your tickets on line here:

In conjunction with the Open House, the Foundation will sponsor a panel discussion on beauty this Tuesday at 5:30 at the San Diego Museum of Art. In addition, local television station KPBS will air a documentary on Hubbell called “Art and Vision of James Hubbell” this Saturday at 4:00 PM on KPBS TV.
Hubbell has traveled the world doing his professional and non-profit work, leaving behind a string of wonders that resonate deeply with the souls and psyches of the people who live, work, play and pray in them. The hallmarks of Hubbell’s work are the organic sculptural forms, stained glass masterpieces and captivating mosaics that are carefully integrated into both indoor an outdoor spaces.

The best description we could find for Ilan-Lael is from the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s website. Ilan-Lael was a recent recipient of that organization’s “Orchid Award.” Selected photos and copy from that article follow:

The James Hubbell Residence and Art studios, named Ilan-Lael (“tree belonging to God”), is significant for its association with award-winning and internationally acclaimed artist, James Hubbell. Designed by master artist James Hubbell, the property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, and method of construction which are organic, nature-inspired forms that have become Hubbell’s trademark. The style of architecture has been acknowledged by the San Diego County Historic Site Board as the “Hubbell style” variant of Modern Organic architecture. The property has been documented by dozens of publications and has been the subject of several video documentaries.

Ilan-Lael is an artist’s residence and studio that appears to grow out of the landscape and blend with nature. Construction of Ilan-Lael began in 1958 and currently consists of eight buildings that serve as a single family residence and art studio. The buildings are composed of various materials including stone, stucco, glass, tile, shell, brick, plaster, bronze, and other metals.

The 2003 Cedar Fire damaged 40-50 % of the buildings. Together with family and friends, Hubbell began to restore Ilan-Lael with the impetus of maintaining the property’s historic architectual integrity. By 2006, repairs to the fire-damaged buildings had been largely completed. On August 18, 2008, the San Diego County Historic Site Board voted to place Ilan-Lael as Landmark Number 2008-003 on the Local Register of Historic Resources. The Historic Site Board felt that Ilan-Lael is one of the most remarkable properties in San Diego County. Hubbell continues to use the property as a studio and works with a number of “up-and-coming” San Diego artisans.

For scads of gorgeous photos of Ilan-Lael, we highly recommend the website of UK mosaic artist Alan Punton here. Punton participated in a tour of the property in conjunction with the Society of American Mosaic Artist’s 2009 conference in San Diego. His photography is excellent.

Photo by Alan Punton

We also found the You Tube video below of one man’s visit during last year’s Open House.

For our Facebook Likers here is the link:
About the Ilan -Lael Foundation:

Mission Statement: The Ilan-Lael Foundation seeks to integrate the arts, nature and beauty into the life of individuals and communities. The foundation maintains the Ilan-Lael property as a place for artists and community members to make this vital connection between people, art, and nature in order to create a more sustainable and harmonious world.

For information on the Open House and the Ilan-Lael Foundation, go here:

Hubbell and Hubbell Architects and Artists Blog:

Can’t make it? Then do have a listen to or read the transcript from this fascinating radio interview with Hubbell from San Diego’s KPBS. Hubbell speaks extensively about his life’s work and upcoming park project in South Korea. Click here.

Enjoy — Nancie

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  1. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    It's not open every day, Maureen. Which is part of what makes this opportunity such a rarity. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Maureen

    What an extraordinary place this must be. I have to make a note of it and try to see whenever I next get to California.

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