FIVE PLACES L.A. is a living documentary of the city that I created, host and co-produce for the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. In each episode, I ask one inhabitant of Los Angeles about five places that define the city for them. We aim for inclusivity and welcome the aleatory by asking each guest in turn to choose a “plus one” interviewee. As the project grows and the city evolves, past and present, real and remembered places are mapped through these stories.

Watch the trailer here, see full episodes on YouTube, or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

"The simplest ideas are often the best. In this case: ask a diverse and creative group to list their five favorite places in Los Angeles as well as name the person they would like to interview in turn about their five choices. Emmanuelle Bourlier, who exudes genuine sweetness and curiosity in a captivatingly sultry voice, teases out intriguing locales along with interviewees’ personal backstories that are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The result is a layered, physical and emotional map of the infinitely fascinating City of Angels."

- Frances Anderton, design writer, broadcaster, and author, Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles

an image of podcast guests on five places los angelesan image of podcast guests on five places los angeles


Panelite started as a solution to a design problem. Two twenty-somethings who met at Columbia’s graduate school for architecture collaborated on a tiny commission (a pool house), and when we couldn’t find the kind of translucent material we needed on the market, we conducted cross-disciplinary research and iterated prototypes to create our own. The outcome was a uniquely stiff yet lightweight honeycomb panel with diffuse light transmission and a dynamic, elusive aesthetic. Imagining its potential to positively impact the built environment, we founded Panelite.

During my leadership as CEO (1998-2022), Panelite developed four product lines and earned six U.S. patents, pioneering the architectural application of honeycomb technology to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimize daylight, and improve occupant wellbeing. Panelite's ClearShade was awarded a NYSERDA grant that demonstrated an 89% savings in energy usage and was recognized by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs as an energy-saving exterior glazing solution. Panelite materials have been applied in thousands of built projects by leading firms including OMA, NBBJ, Gensler, HOK, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, for end clients such as Google, Amazon, Audi, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Rhode Island, Target, the Frick Museum, JetBlue, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Our products were continually developed through input from architects, engineers, contractors, and end users, and I enjoyed interviewing our clients—including Margi Nothard (Founder, Glavovic Studio) and Terry Steelman (FAIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal, Ballinger)—to understand their evolving goals.

“It is magical, it reveals itself as you experience it, whereas many materials are limited to being single experiences. With Panelite, one isn’t quite sure what it is, if you’re not familiar with it. It has a beautiful ability to look different at different scales. If you’re far away from it, it becomes like a moth to a flame, you know, it draws you in with the great lighting. When you’re close to it, it scales and humanizes a space with its materiality.” – Margi G. Nothard, Founder, Director of Design, Glavovic Studio

Image credits, L to R, top to bottom: Panelite hexagonal honeycomb panel (E. Bourlier); cover of Diseno Interior, January 2000; Storycorps booth at Grand Central Station, NY (Mesh Architectures); IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center façade, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (E. Bourlier); IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center interior, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (E. Bourlier); Panelite cast polymer panel (E. Bourlier); JetBlue terminal 5, JFK airport, interior, Gensler (Nic Lehoux); JetBlue terminal 5, JFK airport, exterior, Gensler (Nic Lehoux); Raleigh Union Station exterior, NC, ClearScapes (Dan Nicely); Marina Towers, Doha, E squared architects; Panelite ClearShade honeycomb glazing (E. Bourlier); Raleigh Union Station interior, NC, ClearScapes (Dan Nicely)


09.09.2021 (for Panelite) interview with Margi G. Nothard, Founder, Director of Design, Glavovic Studio

05.17.2021 (for Panelite) interview with Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal, Ballinger

03.10.2020 (for L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design) interview with Lauren Halsey.

01.18.2019 (as interpreter) interview with Khadjou Sambe. Deepa Fernandes. “An Olympic hopeful from Senegal hopes to inspire more black women to surf” TheWorld, Accessed July 22, 2023.

2021-2023 As VP of the Information Committee for the L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, from 2021-2023, I oversee the organization’s outbound communications, including our semi-monthly emails, interviews, and program and event related content. Some interviews I have edited include developers Casey Lynch and Katie Vila, June 2023; author Frances Anderton interviewed by architect and educator Hadrian Predock, November 2022; author Alexandra Lange, June 2021; architect and educator Dr. Dana Cuff, May 2021, and architect, educator, and racial justice advocate Nina Briggs, March 2021.

Additional examples available on request.


For clients in a variety of industries (including architecture, engineering, and construction; music; and sustainability), I provide business strategy, operational, and business development consulting. Projects include business strategy roadmaps, business growth and operations consulting, and innovation strategy. Consulting can take many forms, from a single hour brainstorming a specific challenge, to an ongoing contract advising start-up or growth modes of a business. I also offer communications consulting and services including: interviews, marketing plans and campaigns, copywriting and editing, pitch decks, and continuing education seminars.

"Emmanuelle put together a pitch deck for us on short notice, and delivered well beyond the assignment. Her research was thorough, her presentation impeccable, her insights creative and actionable. She also proposed a new title/tag line that captured the soul of the campaign. Looking forward to working with her again!"
- Dilly Gent, Creative Director, Producer, and Founder, Son&Heir Co.

From 1999-2004, I was contracted by Office for Metropolitan Architecture to do material development work for three Prada flagship stores: New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We originally thought of this work as a division of Panelite, a sort of Panelite Lab. For Prada/OMA, our research included: innovative finishing methods for a single seamless aluminum panel to cover the entire Rodeo Drive façade of the L.A. store; Brazilian zebrawood coatings; slip-resistant glass treatments and rounded fiberglass structures for a below-sidewalk “shop window”; a translucent honeycomb "baggage claim"; and developing a production method for “sponge panels” to line the walls. The sponge panels were required to appear organic, while being meticulously engineered for ease of assembly and seamless continuity when layered or aligned.

These material research projects were conducted in collaboration with Andreas Froech, who brought fabrication genius and prior experience building surfboards as well as a level of CNC logic and 3d computer modeling skills that were exceptionally rare in the field at this time. In addition to our research for Prada, our collaboration also led to new products for Panelite, which were applied in hundreds of projects, including OMA’s IIT McCormick Tribune Campus center.

Image credits: Panelite, and: OMA/AMO Koolhaas, Rem. PROJECTS FOR PRADA PART 1. Milano: Fondazione Prada Edizioni, 2001.