EpOxyGreen: G.I.Y.

Found objects reincarnated

Commerce and consciousness are hardly a capitalist contradiction these days. Consider Deborah Guyer Greene’s Venice gallery epOxybOx and adjacent sustainable-home-supply business epOxyGreen. The two stores — along with a closet-sized electric-car office and parking-lot showroom — make up a sustainable-lifestyle empire on the site of a former gas station built in 1923.

Sustainability by the foot:  epOxyGreen (Photos by Alan Shaffer)“It’s like we’re fueling the neighborhood in a different way,” says Greene as she leads me past the open garages that used to house the two hydraulic lifts and lube room of the storefront’s past life. The garage doors that form a fourth wall are open, letting light and oxygen into the airy space.

Beyond its gluey definition, “epoxy” is a compound in which an oxygen atom bonds to two other atoms — “bringing [the] different atoms into unity,” as Greene explains, “taking two different things and putting them together, like commerce and consciousness.”

There are also wall-treatment solutions, green window shades, recycled glass tiles and composite countertops. Over in the Solutions of the Month area, I found green picnic and party options — including bamboo cutlery and plates, and compostable plastics made of corn or potato starch — designed so that the waste from your backyard barbecue parties this summer won’t still be sitting in a landfill 20 years from now.

Paterno also works with customers to make one-of-a-kind green furniture. EpOxyGreen is like a tiny sustainable Home Depot but with actual customer service.

“We’re offering a choice in one small category — building materials,” says Paterno, “and it expands to artisan materials, like furniture making. We’re just putting this stuff out there to show people this stuff is good — good for the world and good for design. They are sexy materials. We’re trying to hit a big market with a small space, but we’ll get there.”

“The more that these kinds of materials get out there,” adds Greene, “the more the prices [will] come down and people can make the choice to green their homes in really reasonable ways. A lot of people come in and go, ‘Oooo, pretty’ — we just go from there.”

EpOxyGreen and epOxybOx Gallery, 602 Venice Blvd., Venice, (310) 578-2123 (shop), (310) 578-2100 (gallery); Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. On Friday, June 15, epOxybOx presents the nonprofit Bagvagabond’s Bohemian Circus with craft tents, clowns and a storytelling corner from 4:30-7 p.m., followed by a sunset bar and grill and the ongoing exhibit “The Greening of Fine Art.” At 9 p.m. there will be an open bar, rotating DJs and screenings of classic short films with pianist Michael Mortillo performing a live score and, fresh off their appearance on the MTV Movie Awards, Stilt Circus.

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