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Letter perfect pop-up: House Industries at Heath

December 13, 2010 |  3:00 pm

If there's a typeface fanatic on your holiday shopping list, make sure to check out Heath Los Angeles on Beverly Boulevard, where Delaware-based type foundry House Industries has a pop-up presence through the end of the year.

Since I'm slightly obsessed with the world of fonts and typefaces, I knew I'd find some cool things would come out of a mash-up between the letter-shaping crowd and the tile-forming folks. But I was surprised not only at how cool the collaboration itself is, but at the wide range of non-ceramic offerings on hand.

When I stopped by the shop on Saturday (the first time), I caught up with House's owners Rich Roat and Andy Cruz as they busily helped stock shelves and arrange merchandise on tables behind a wall of curtains that cordoned off a third of the shop (until the 4 p.m. opening of the pop-up, anyway).

Roat showed us the heart of the House X Heath collaboration -- a new line of ceramic letter and number house tiles using House Industries' Eames and Neutra typefaces (a complete collection -- and official launch of Heath House Numbers -- will follow in the summer of 2011).

But there are plenty of non-ceramic items -- many of them exclusive or limited-edition -- to choose from, including flour sack towels, hand-printed plywood screens, laser-cut metal letter ornaments, Christmas cards, and enough brightly printed wooden koi to stock a pond.

But what brought me back to the store right at the stroke of 4 p.m. was the 13-piece, Alexander Girard nativity set . Traditionally I'm not much for the table-top version of the nativity scene at the holidays -- there are far too many small pieces for my taste (misplace the baby Jesus just once and no one will ever let you forget it ...). Not to mention our cats have an annual yuletide tradition of batting each occupant of the manger onto the floor one by one.

But these pieces were of a solid maple that could easily withstand a feline battering -- and the detailed designs were hand-printed (by David Dodde, who was on hand at Saturday's event) in a bright color palette that included my wife's favorite range of vibrant pinks -- so I grabbed one of the three sets on hand and made a beeline for the register.

Which means a little bit of House will be a part of my house for many holidays to come.

House Industries at Heath Los Angeles Studio & Store, 7525 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, through Dec. 31 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.,  Sunday noon to 6 p.m.).

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: A limited-edition Alexander Girard nativity set is among the offerings at the House Industries pop-up at Heath Los Angeles through Dec. 31. Credit: Carlos Alejandro for House Industries