09 April 2015


Inspired to change the function of this lightbulb, indifferent to its designed purpose.
Melissa will be wearing this next week.
Day 4 > #100DaysOfWearableCharrettes  
Materials: Filament bulb LB1 (240V/60W) by roost, lime will felt, vintage clothespin.

Broach: ROOST #100DaysOfWearableCharrettes

08 April 2015


Today, Melissa wore a SIGN.

Day 3 > #100DaysOfWearableCharrettes 
Materials: A1966 Playbill Cover from the dramatic comedy written by Antonio Buero Vallejo, 100% Duck canvas, and hot glue.

Broach Title: "La señal que se espera" #100DaysOfWearableCharrettes 

07 April 2015


Today, I wore vulnerability.

On my one-hour commute to work, while descending the stairs at the metro station, I overheard a young boy say to his mother, "He's vulnerable..." I didn't stop for further context, yet unexpectedly, this phrase came to symbolize events of the day.
Day 2 > #100DaysOfWearbleCharrettes
Materials: Violet Künstler Pastel, shavings from Field Notes pencil, Black Magic waterproof ink by Higgins, white board.


06 April 2015


"Juggling Jott" illustration from the book by Dr. Seuss, IF I RAN THE CIRCUS.
I used to toy with the idea that if architecture didn’t work out as a career for me, I would join the circus.  This adventurous dream comforted me during those long studio nights as a student when my built creativity felt uneventful.

In my pursuit to become an architect, my professional career steered away from a licensed practice and instead, life invited me to perform these roles in the following order: sales assistant at the Norton Simon Museum, designer (a.k.a. the AutoCAD years), sales associate at Macy’s, telemarketer for the Oregon Ballet Theater, social media content enthusiast for a business conference, and cofounder of design-build studio Mark + Vivi.

Nine months ago, the resume that read like it had been orchestrated by a juggling jott, led me to Cirque du Soleil. I used to dream about running away to join the circus as a joking alternative, and today, it is the place where my design-thinking skills serve a grand purpose in their life-curated and unpretentious state. I am currently a designer and creative liaison to Welby Altidor, who with brilliant irony, will be speaking at this year’s AIA Convention in Atlanta.

Moral of the story: Sometimes life is beyond an either-or dream...and the circus is just around the corner. 

To celebrate this union of careers, I decided to embark on the #The100DayProject by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent. In honour of my studio days at Cal Poly, I give this project the unique title, #100DaysOfWearableCharrettes . . . at the Circus.

A few notes about this challenge...

WEARABLE: Author/Designer and CdS coworker Melissa A. Thompson is my muse for this project. Fast facts: Via a serendipitous encounter, Melissa was the first person to greet me my first day at the circus. Everyday, she compliments her outfit with a broach.

CHARRETTE: A timed, active, and visual brainstorming exercise that originated at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in France to develop problem-solving skills.

PROCESS: For this project, inspired by Melissa's confident etiquette, I will create miniature wearable worlds the size of broaches inspired by my daily life at the circus.

  • Wake up at 5:30am.
  • Spend 5 mins to brainstorm concept.
  • Gather materials.
  • Total building time: 59 minutes max
  • Post to Instagram @vivdelo
  • Deliver broach to Melissa to wear for the day.
  • Throughout the day, be on the look out for unique materials, and make note of memorable conversations.
  • Repeat process everyday for 100 days!
NOTE: Process is subject to change should I need to adapt to unexpected events.

A special thank you to Maira Kalman and the late Italo Calvino. These two books kept me dreaming during uncertain times!

18 December 2013

What is the creative business of social media?

In a recent live chat hosted by the Institute of Design at Stanford (d.school), IDEO Founder and co-author of the book, Creative Confidence  - David Kelley - shared the anecdote that in the Tibetan language there's no word that directly translates the word "creative" - the closest association is the word "natural". He states, "You want to be more creative, be natural."

Keeping this in mind, Kelley's insight becomes very relevant when applied to understanding the purpose of social media today. What should be the business of social media? Those of us behind the scenes should be exploring ways to be more creative, to be more natural. There are people looking for quality, for a good online conversation. There are humans behind the tweets, shares, likes, and even those sometimes misleading profile avatars a.k.a. automatic RT bots.

I had the chance to discuss my role as C2MTL's Social Media architect in a recent interview with Beverly Macy, the host of Social Media Radio, where I shared what a privilege it is to be part of the team that curates the content and establishes the strategies deployed to creatively buzz about the business conference, Commerce + Creativity Montréal (C2MTL).

Beverly Macy asked me to share a bit about myself and my role as Social Media architect, but this wasn't the first time I had been asked to verbalize my current profession. When I'm asked what I do for living, I say, "I'm an architectural designer that renovates old buildings with my husband (also a practicing architect) and I do social media for a business conference." People often reply, "Wow, they are very different professions. Do you do social media as a hobby?" The first few times I responded with a generic answer, but then - in recent months - I started to really reflect why I do what I do. Is there a relationship between these two disciplines?

And the answer I came up with is a very affirmitive YES! I became fascinated with analzying the human element in both the physical "habitable world" and the virtual world. What if we start to imagine the social media ecosystem as a home? The different social media platforms as the different rooms in your apartment or house? Think about your bathroom, bedroom, garage, kitchen etc. All of these spaces invite us to act a certain way because of the layout, furniture, and functions each room fascilitates. Now think of the social media platforms as these different rooms: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Instagram etc. They each have individual characteristics and functions that invite us to behave in a very specific way, due to the layout and tools provided by the designers behind these platforms. Think about it...

This analysis is ongoing and I look forward to observing and listening more closely to our behaviour, and how it is influenced by the social media trends continously changing everyday.

The essential common link is the human element. We live in both physical and virtual spaces simultaneously with the undeniable fact that the virtual world is becoming too much with not enough substance for many. The need to "unplug" is not a passing trend, but a definitive action already taken by many.

I will conclude with a quote from a recent interview featured in Australian magazine, Dumbo Feather of Virtual Reality inventor Jaron Lanier, "If you don't treat people as special, if you don't create some sort of a special zone for humans - especially when you're designing technology - you'll end up dehumanising the world. You'll turn people into some giant, stupid information system, which is what I think we're doing."

You can listen to my interview with Beverly Macy below.

New Entrepreneur Internet Radio with Beverly Macy on BlogTalkRadio

Photo Credits: (left) Jaron Lanier via Dumbo Feather (right) Detail of my desk at C2MTL by Sacha Cohen


05 July 2013

Susan Wojcicki: Stanford University, Lemons, Harvard and a Garage...the rest is history!

“If you had asked me as a kid what I thought I was gonna be, I probably would have said I was gonna be an artist…and in some ways that’s actually what I think led me to technology” – Wojcicki, MAKERS series

A few Fast Facts about Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising & Commerce at ‎Google from MAKERS clip below:

1. Started a side business as a kid selling the neighbors' lemons to other neighbors.
2. Grew up on the Stanford Campus - Lucky girl!
3. Graduated from Harvard. Worked for a software company. Got an MA and MBA.
4. In 1998, she and her husband rented their garage to co-Founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
5. Became Google’s 16th employee as the first and only marketing person.
6. Launched Google video yet it eventually led to the purchasing of You Tube for $1.65 Billion.
7. Developed AdSense & AdWords and today, Wojcicki is responsible for ALL of Google’s advertising products, which make up 95% of the company’s revenue.

+ Part of the series: Topic No.2: A Curated Apprenticeship, Cosmo THIS!

Credits: Burning Man Google doodle, 1998 | Family from the San Francisco Chronicle article, "Bay Area's Wojcicki family honored" | Lemons flickr picture by honeypieLiving via Pinterest | Photo: Jeremy Goldberg via ADWEEK

01 July 2013


Mad Men Season 6 Finale ends with the song by Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides, Now"  | 1969
Joni Mitchell was inspired to write this song while reading Saul Bellow's, Henderson the Rain King and looking at clouds from a plane.  
Joni Mitchell fast fact via Rolling Stone: http://rol.st/12fzEZx  }

SAUL BELLOW: "Africa reached my feelings right away even in the air, from which it looked like the ancient bed of mankind. And at a height of three miles, sitting above the clouds, I felt like an airborne seed...And I dreamed down at the clouds, and thought that when I was a kid I had dreamed up at them, and having dreamed at the clouds from both sides as no other generation of men has done, one should be able to accept his death very easily. However, we made safe landings every time...and I kept thinking 'Bountiful life! Oh, how bountiful life is'".  - Henderson The Rain King, Chapter V


Rows and flows of angel hair   
And ice cream castles in the air   
And feather canyons everywhere  
I’ve looked at clouds that way    

But now they only block the sun  
They rain and snow on everyone   
So many things I would have done  
But clouds got in my way  

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now  
From up and down, and still somehow  
It’s cloud illusions I recall   
I really don’t know clouds at all  

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels  
The dizzy dancing way you feel  
As ev’ry fairy tale comes real  
I’ve looked at love that way  

But now it’s just another show
You leave ‘em laughing when you go  
And if you care, don’t let them know  
Don’t give yourself away  

I’ve looked at love from both sides now  
From give and take, and still somehow   
It’s love’s illusions I recall   
I really don’t know love at all   

Tears and fears and feeling proud  
To say “I love you” right out loud  
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds   
I’ve looked at life that way   

But now old friends are acting strange   
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed    
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained   
In living every day  

I’ve looked at life from both sides now  
From win and lose and still somehow   
It’s life’s illusions I recall  
I really don’t know life at all  

I’ve looked at life from both sides now  
From up and down, and still somehow  
It’s life’s illusions I recall  
I really don’t know life at all 

Credits: Top photo borrowed from Mad Men AMC archives / B/W Clouds photo found via Pinterest.

08 December 2012

In homage to studying abroad...

Do you ever wonder if the places you've inhabited, feel your absence after you're gone? I like to think that they do. After all, you've contributed to their daily wear and tear and aromatic essence. You've shared with them, your most intimate self; when nobody else was watching, their space was there surrounding you, witnessing your every move and solace.

And if they don't, we do, don't we? 

Oh, but they do...they have the scars to prove it.

And we have a cache of mementos - such as the polaroids in this post - to remind us we were there.

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003, Copenhagen, Denmark. 
All photos were taken with 600 Polaroid Film, © Viviana de Loera

From top to bottom: 
Kollegium - drying laundry, Sept 2002.
+ (4) photos: neighborhood around Kollegium
+ DIS: Danish vernacular building with yellow facade.
+ DIS: Round staircase next to architecture studios. 
+ One of the many iconic buildings I had the pleasure of experiencing in person, Le  Corbusier's chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp; October 2002.
+ Riding the metro, Dec. 26, 2002

21 November 2012

Who wants to be evil with me?

I've posed for pictures with Iv'ry Soap * I've petted stray dogs, and shied clear of dope * My smile is brilliant, my glance is tender * But I'm noted most for my unspoiled gender * I've been made Miss Reingold, though I never touch beer * And I'm the person to whom they say, "You're sweet, my dear," * The only etchings I've seen have been behind glass * And the closest I've been to a bar is at ballet class * Prim and proper, the girl who's never been cased * I'm tired of being pure and not chased * Like something that seeks it's level * I want to go to the devil * I want to be evil, I want to spit tacks * I want to be evil and cheat at jacks * I want to be wicked, I want to tell lies * I want to be mean and throw mud pies * I want to wake up in the morning * With that dark brown taste * I want to see some dissipation in my face * I want to be evil, I want to be mad * But more than that, I want to be bad * I want to be evil and trump an ace * Just to see my partner's face * I want to be nasty, I want to be cruel * I want to be daring, I want to shoot pool * and in the theatre, I want to change my seat * Just so I can step on everybody's feet * I want to be evil, I want to hurt flies * I want to sing songs like the guy who cries * I want to be horrid, I want to drink booze * And whatever I've got, I'm eager to lose * I want to be evil, little evil me * Just as mean and evil as I can be! {I want to be evil by Eartha Kitt}

One of those songs that just eats you alive! This post is a preview to my upcoming series, A Curated Apprenticeship, where I plan to revere those femmes fatales that have shaped who I am and what I aspire to be. Stay tuned...

17 November 2012

Flying Houses

I'll start by saying that I've had a very awkward week. No matter what I'd put into motion, it just felt bizarrely ungrounded, as if another version of me was calling the shots.  And then, late last night, I stumbled upon the beautiful œuvre of French photographer, Laurent Chehere, Flying Houses. They summarize my sense of displacement to a T, and at the same time, remind me that nothing is permanent. From time to time, a toppled occurrence (week) is exactly what one needs to refocus and carry on!

Run-down, decorated with pieces of street art, half-demolished, burning or simply showing their typically Parisian roofs and facades, these buildings populate a fairy tale where the urban social complexities are not eliminated but rather elevated as a symbol of the contemporary world at large. (Frame Magazine)

The Flying Houses series is currently on display at Paris-Beijing Galerie in Paris until December 4, 2012. 

Photos borrowed from Frame Magazine, here and Chehere's site, here.