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Monthly Archives: August 2017

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Lego House – The Creative Toy Comes To Life In Denmark

Those iconic bricks that have inspired the architect in children around the world have finally come to life in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO House is a building under construction and set to open in September 2017, in the city of the factory of LEGO. The house will be designed entirely in the brick-by-brick aesthetic of LEGO. The building will serve as part public art piece, tourist attraction, LEGO store, and cafe. It will also have 20,000 square feet set aside for open space.

LEGO House offers children and adults an amazing opportunity to combine bricks and creativity, creating the ultimate play date. The layout of LEGO House follows the structure of the five learning zone competences activated through play. Each brightly color-coded zone has bundled together some really awesome play activities that are there for you to explore.

In the midst of LEGO House stands one of the world’s most iconic LEGO models. The Tree of Creativity is over 40 feet tall and packed full of details the most avid LEGO enthusiast cannot fail to be impressed by. The base and roots of the tree represent the LEGO Group foundation in wooden toys, and at the very top LEGO mini-figure workers are building new branches using a giant crane — just like LEGO House itself. The unique LEGO model is built by hand from 6,316,611 standard LEGO bricks and took 24,350 hours to assemble.

LEGO House is designed by Bjarke Angel Group (BIG). According to the founding architect Bjarke Ingels, the idea for LEGO House was to create a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks… a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick. Twenty-one white bricks are stacked on top of each other, crowned by the Keystone. These huge bricks not only form internal spaces for LEGO House activities, but they also create a covered public square and a series of interconnected terraces and playgrounds for guests to investigate and enjoy. This ensures that LEGO House can be enjoyed both by fans who come to experience the LEGO story and by local residents and visitors to the town of Billund.

From the ADG Job Site

Leather wrapped iron and bronze chandelier for happy ADG client Tiffany Harris Design!
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by Gerald Olesker, ADG Lighting

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Is There an Unknown Architect as Big as Texas?

 

Everything is bigger in Texas! You have heard it before and it is just a fact. Texas is home to nearly 26.5 million people, or 8.4% of the total U.S. population. Most of this population is concentrated around cities including Houston, Dallas, and Austin. The Lone Star State holds a major portion of the U.S. economy. Its total gross domestic product is $1.43 trillion, which is approximately 8.5% of the entire U.S. GDP. Although Texas is primarily known for its oil, it is also the leader in wind power development, and has a large aerospace and aviation industry. Fifty-two Fortune 500 companies including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, and American Airlines are headquartered in Texas.

With that kind of standing behind them, Texans are known to brag about just about everything. If they aren’t bigger and better, they will be soon. So, it becomes quite puzzling to most folks when a Texan’s work is significantly impactful, yet folks just don’t know his name. The Texan that remained so anonymous for so long is renowned architect O’Neil Ford, better known as the Texas godfather of modern architecture.

O’Neil Ford was a renowned architect of the mid-20th century in Texas and a leading architect of the American Southwest. He is considered one of the nation’s best unknown architects, and his designs merged the modernism of Europe with the indigenous qualities of early Texas architecture. In 1974 he was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Council on the Arts, the only individual to ever be given that title.

His designs include several buildings in Denton, among them the Little Chapel in the Woods, renovations at the Emily Fowler Public Library, the Denton Civic Center, Denton’s City Hall and several buildings at The Selwyn School. Because his designs form much of Denton’s identity, a Texas historical marker honoring Ford was dedicated at the Emily Fowler Library in 2009.

Other Dallas works by Ford include much of the University of Dallas campus in Irving. He designed the Braniff Memorial Tower, the Braniff Graduate Center, the Gorman Lecture Center, parts of the art village, the Haggar University Center, and the Haggerty Science Building.

Many of Ford’s works can also be found in San Antonio. These works include the renovation of La Villita, the campus of Trinity University, the campus of Saint Mary’s Hall, the University of Texas at San Antonio Main Campus, and the Tower of the Americas.

Other significant works by O’Neil Ford include buildings at Skidmore College and several facilities around the world designed for Texas Instruments. Shortly before his death, he completed the design of the building of the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville.

From the Factory Floor

Solid walnut plank to be illuminated on job site!
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by Gerald Olesker, ADG Lighting
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Passing of an Acclaimed Architect

“As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.”

― Frank Lloyd Wright

Gunnar Birkerts, an acclaimed Detroit-area architect who designed major buildings throughout the Midwest, including the former Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and an addition to the University of Michigan Law Library, passed on Tuesday.

Birkerts was a Latvian-American architect who, for most of his career, was based in the metropolitan area of Detroit, Michigan. His designs include the Corning Museum of Glass and the Corning Fire Station in Corning, New York, Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2014, he designed the National Library of Latvia in Riga, Latvia (aka the Castle of Light), whose architectural form references and draws inspiration from Latvian folklore.

He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1970, and a Fellow of the Latvian Architect Association in 1971. Birkerts was the recipient of numerous individual awards, including a 1971 fellowship from the Graham Foundation, the Gold Medal of the Michigan Society of Architects in 1980, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1981, and the 1993 Michigan Artist of the Year award.

From The Factory Floor

ADG team member Fabien von Heyden checking out our new bright yellow 39 foot long lights for Bluewater Grill.
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by ADG Lighting, Gerald Olesker
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Luxury Homes – The Most Expensive Are in Bel Air

Is it really a surprise that the most expensive home on the market in the U.S. is in Bel Air? Probably not. But, with the latest entry into the market, Bel Air holds the record now for having the top 3 most expensive homes on the market.

Bel Air is a neighborhood in the Westside area of Los Angeles, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo Bell. He owned farm property in Santa Fe Springs, where oil was discovered. Bell bought a large ranch with a home on what is now Bel Air Road. He subdivided and developed the property with large residential lots. He also built the Bel Air Beach Club in Santa Monica and the Bel Air Country Club. Bell’s wife chose Italian names for the streets and subsequently founded the Bel Air Garden Club in 1931.

The newest entry in the Bel Air market is a property known as Chartwell. It hits the market at a price of $350 million. Chartwell was the estate of late Univision chairman Jerrold Perenchio. It sits on more than 10 acres, with a main house that measures 25,000 square feet. The property also includes a ballroom, a wine cellar and a period-paneled dining room. Perenchio purchased the home in 1986 and had it remodeled to more closely resemble the original design of an authentic 18th-century French chateau. Afterward, he bought many of the surrounding properties, expanding the compound to nearly 13 acres of land. The exterior of the home was used in shots of the hit TV sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Bel Air has always been a district for the super-rich. Its Mediterranean architectural style and lavishly landscaped grounds quickly became the address of choice for LA society. Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock were all residents of the exclusive Bel Air.

From the ADG Lighting Job Site

A custom selection of ADG lanterns…

ADG Custon Lighting Architecture 080917

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Don’t Forget Pasadena When You Think of Architecture

When people think of architecture in Los Angeles, their thoughts go immediately to The Eameses, Frank Gehry, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among many others. They were drawn to the sublime light of Los Angeles and were inspired by it.

Like anything else, there are downsides to every attractive part of the city. First and foremost, the traffic! If you live in LA, you known traffic is always going to be a problem and parking is even worse. Then, you have to consider the crowds. Los Angeles is a top global destination for tourists. No matter what your site-seeing adventure in LA, there is going to be a crowd and lines. Wouldn’t be nice to avoid the mind-numbing traffic and growing crowds to take in some great design and architecture? Well, the real secret is…pay a visit to Pasadena.

Pasadena is just 15 miles northwest of Los Angeles, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Incorporated in 1886, this city of 140,000 retains much of its 19th-century charm. Here are a few examples of places to visit in the Pasadena area to get your design fix:

1. Norton Museum of Art – A private museum founded in 1922 as the Pasadena Art Institute, later becoming the Pasadena Art Museum. Industrialist Norton Simon, who collected European masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century, as well as Asian art spanning 2,000 years, took it over in 1974. It is considered one of the world’s finest small art museums, gaining praise for its renovations by famed architect Frank Gehry.
2. Old Town Pasadena – This 22-block historical area has kept many of its 19th century roots, thanks to historic preservation. It was designated a National Register Historic District in 1983, and remains full of Victorian, Mission Revival and Art Deco buildings that give off a European vibe with its pedestrian-friendly streets and historic alleys.
3. The Langham Huntington – This historic hotel originally opened in 1907 and was redesigned seven years later by Rose Bowl architect Myron Hunt. It added the first Olympic-sized swimming pool in Southern California in the mid-1920s and is now famous for its lovely wooden Picture Bridge, used as a backdrop in movies and TV shows.
4. The Gamble House – The Gamble House was designed as a winter residence in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene for David Berry Gamble, a second-generation member of the Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. family, and his wife, Mary. It is renowned as an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture.

No matter what your travel plans are, Pasadena has world-class design and architectural destinations that will give you a taste of the past, present and the future, all within a compact 23-mile radius.

Check out this video walking tour of Old Town Pasadena.

From the Design Studio

1920’s beach cottage project

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sketched by Gerald Olesker