We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Carababas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, what do you want people to remember about you?
If I could imagine what a dialogue about my legacy would be long after I leave this world, I would hope it sounds something like this: Liz showed me how to see the built environment around me differently. She invited me into spaces that showed me how to feel differently. And that invitation makes me feel included, seen and heard. I just believe so strongly that the strength of a community (architecture, furniture, fashion, music) is directly dependent on how diverse it is. It’s the outsiders that shape things. Great design shouldn’t be explained, it should be felt. And especially with architecture I somehow feel drawn to challenge why, where and how things were built by really looking at it. It feels anthropological at that point. Through that mindset I have learned how to see the world in a beautiful light, even with the ugliest of things. It’s how I authentically show up and do the work I do. There is something to see and feel if you pay close enough attention.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I got to where I am today because I didn’t let adversity lead me astray. It’s hard enough being a woman in this industry and not having many female trailblazers I could lean on for moral support. My sex never held me back. I just didn’t understand why it mattered to so many others. But outside of that, I had a more unconventional transition into the work I do from my background in fine art from the gallery and museum sector. But through the experience of being a curator and surrounded by the most recognizable images in history I believe my eye was shaped dramatically. I try to see what else is there, wherever that is. There is narrative, there is backstory, there is emotion. When I have fought my natural instinct to probably over-investigate something because I felt like that’s not what “the industry” was asking for, I was shelving a whole part of me. I’ve learned to embrace that over the years and I am so much happier.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would book them a week-long stay at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in DTLA. Inside is a maze of culture. I could easily fill up a week’s worth of experiences in that building alone.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Neutra VDL Studio and Residences deserves some light here. The directors Noam Saragosti and Juhee Park have been the inspiration I needed to see when it comes to steering the architecture community in an honorable direction. I learn from them every moment we are together.
Portrait of myself © Erika Verik All other images © Elizabeth Carababas