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Paul Williams Shaped the Face of Los Angeles Architecture

Black History Month is celebrated during February and is the perfect opportunity to recognize the contributions of a historic and groundbreaking black architect who shaped the face of Los Angeles architecture forever.

“Planning is thinking beforehand how something is to be made or done, and mixing imagination with the product – which in a broad sense makes all of us planners. The only difference is that some people get a license to get paid for thinking and the rest of us just contribute our good thoughts to our fellow man.”

Paul Williams, Architect

Paul Williams was a native Angeleno and largely practiced in Southern California. He was the only African-American student in his elementary school and went on to study at the Los Angeles School of Art, the Los Angeles branch of the New York Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. He went on to further his education at the University of Southern California (USC) studying architecture, where he designed several residential buildings while a student there. He became a certified architect in 1921, becoming the first black architect west of the Mississippi. He later became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923 and was inducted as their first black fellow. When he began his career, he could not find another black architect to be a role model or mentor.

Williams made his name by being an architect to the stars. His work would come to signify the glamorous and luxurious lifestyle of Southern California. One of the hallmarks in his designs was a luxurious curving staircase, which was the prominent feature in a 1925 Colonial he built in Brentwood for a notable financial services mogul. The new owner remarked that when he first saw the home, it looked so luxurious that he wasn’t sure he could afford the home, but if he could afford the staircase, he would take it with him. Williams’ homes were soon know for their grace, design and elegant proportions. They attracted such clients as Frank Sinatra, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lon Chaney, Sr., Lucille Ball, Julie London, Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, Bert Lahr, Charles Correll, Will Hays, Zasu Pitts, and Danny Thomas. In all, he designed over 2300 homes in the Hollywood Hills and the Mid-Wilshire district.

Paul Williams retired in 1973 and passed in January of 1980. In October 2015, a monument and memorial plaza was dedicated to Williams north of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building. It features a bas relief of Williams with many of his works.

Custom Lighting From the Factory Floor

Inspired fixture by ADG…just like an Erector set with lights!

Custom Lighting Creative Lighting Adg

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Sustainable Architecture Design Sustainability

Sustainable Architecture Can Provide Sustainable Shelter

Our world is changing and challenging us to face new realities never considered before. Climate change, drought, famine and wars are creating a situation where people are without adequate and affordable housing. With a global population of over one billion people, the lack of adequate housing is only going to increase. Experts are now looking to sustainable architecture to provide solutions to this crisis. Structures initially designed using sustainable architecture to provide housing for future inhabitants on Mars for NASA may be the answer.

“Forced displacement from war or persecution is one of humanity’s great challenges in the 21st century. It’s not about to go away any time soon and those who are affected desperately need our help.”

Kathryn Mahoney, Senior Communications Officer for the UN’s Refugee Agency.

Sustainable Architecture Creates Solutions

The late Nader Khalili, architect and founder of Cal-Earth, started his quest for answers in 1974, when he became determined to find housing solutions for people with limited money and no resources. At that time, Khalili discovered that millions of people around the globe were either refugees, homeless or just a few steps away from disaster. He spent five years traveling in the Iranian desert and learned from indigenous communities how they used sustainable architecture to their advantage. His non-profit Cal-Earth now teaches the concept of building SuperAdobes. The method is simple. Put to use the raw elements available, with basic architectural principles and habitable shelter becomes a reality. All that is needed would be soil, water, sand bags, barbed wire and a shovel to complete a structure.

When you are building with natural materials, you are creating solutions through sustainable architecture that addresses the challenges of war, storms and other potential disasters. No matter what the situation people may find themselves in, the skills developed by Cal-Earth using sustainable architecture techniques will allow people to build in any situation. Dastan and Sheefteh Khalili carry on with the groundbreaking work of their father through Cal-Earth. Their vision is that people will be able to build homes that work in harmony with nature and a minimal carbon footprint.

From the Factory Floor

Sketch of new lighting fixture
Custom Lighting Architect Adg
 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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N9612 0822SF UD Master SR Lkg Fwd Copy

Yacht Design Project Nominated For Prestigious Awards

Our unique collaboration with Scott Cole of Ardeo Design to design lighting for the Ardeo yacht project Lacey Kay has received well-deserved accolades with recent award recognition. The Lacey Kay is a 96’ foot New Nordhavn Super Yacht, based out of the Caribbean. Ardeo Design was commissioned to work on the interior design of the new yacht, and ADG Lighting was the perfect choice to partner with them on the project. The Lacey Kay project was nominated for several awards:

Boat International Design & Innovation Awards 2018 recognized the Lacey Kay as a finalist for 2018. Previously known as the ShowBoats Design Awards, the refreshed awards program acknowledges not only the naval architecture and styling, but also design aspects that represent innovation and engineering amid the changing demands of owners and the increased product portfolio of technology.

The International Yacht & Aviation Awards are in their 8th year and are the only design-focused awards for the industry. The Lacey Kay was a 2017 winner. There are other events which are, of course, are similar in nature, but none that have come about with the sole intention on focusing on the essential design elements of both the yacht and aviation sectors.

International Superyacht Society Awards recognized the Lacey Kay as a finalist in 2017. It is the global association for the superyacht industry.

ADG Lighting was challenged to bring the client’s vision to reality. The owner of the Lacey Kay had a vision of walnut wood, leather and fabric on the interiors with accents of polished stainless steel. The creative offerings from ADG Lighting included a chrome shade wall sconce and a round drum chandelier. Both offerings precisely created the vision of the client and Ardeo Design. The final design concept surpassed the owner’s expectation and vision for a design that featured natural and metallic elements. The partnership was the perfect opportunity for ADG Lighting to feature their creative collaboration approach to design. The Lacey Kay was delivered to the owner in early 2016.

Photo Credit: Martin Fine. Interior Design: Scott Cole.

 

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Featured Artist: Abby Jacobs

During the course of our work, we get the unique opportunity to explore the visions of various artists and tradesmen injecting their own vision into spaces. As craftsmen in the world of lighting, we work with the intention of making a space come to light (both literally and metaphorically), and that work is often enhanced by fellow artists and craftsmen. So the question arises: does art (of any form) enhance lights? Is art an intention? How does art work collaboratively with other fixtures or objects in a room and create its own vignette?

As we explore this thought, we wanted to profile an artist that ADG has worked with in the past on a residential project. In collaboration with architecture firm Surround Architecture and interior designer Rand Kruse, we crossed paths with Abby Jacobs, an artist based out of Boulder, Colorado. ADG designed the thin-nickeled sconces, pendants in the dining room, and many of the exterior lights in the home.

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Working as an artist since a young child, Abby trained in art therapy and received her master’s degree in counseling psychology and art therapy from the Buddhist based Naropa University in Boulder.

“Art’s job is to be soothing. The eye should rest in the place you like,” Abby says. A lot of her work can be heavy and solid, or light and airy, just depending on the space.

Image5Abby has previously worked with adults with mental struggles, and believes art is a good way to get people to open up, and reflects what is going on with them. “It’s such a good way to get people to open up because there’s no intimidation of direct eye contact. They’re focused on their work, but they’re accessing emotions, and a lot of times the artwork reflects what’s going on inside.”

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Abby sells a lot of her work locally, and has used social media platforms like Instagram to sell her prints and build a community. Her work will be featured at Wonder Press, a 100% organic, cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop located in Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about Abby’s work at abbyjacobsart.com.

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climate change, green architecture, architecture, innovation, creative

Climate Change: Will We See Floating Architecture?

“Given the impact of climate change, we can begin to think a lot more about the opportunity for living with water as opposed to fighting it,”

~Kunle Adeyemi, Architect

In an age where we grapple with the effects of climate change and rising water level across the globe, the question now becomes how will our cities properly deal with the challenge? Some in the architectural community put forward the idea that floating buildings will be the answer moving forward. These innovative ideas are being promoted in a wide variety of designs in various locations around the world. Solutions that are being offered range from floating prefab homes to entire neighborhoods that are totally amphibious.

Core samples, tide gauge readings, and most recently, satellite measurements tell us that over the past century, the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen by 4 to 8 inches. However, the annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years. When sea levels rise rapidly, as they have been doing, even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.

With the ever-increasing threat of rising water, a community that has pioneered the idea of water-based living is the Netherlands. With over half of its landmass underwater, the Netherlands have mastered the art of water management, namely through an effective and creative canal system. Climate change has forced that creativity forward to find more ambitious ways to transform its cities. In Amsterdam, you will find innovative houseboats all around the city. One of the most creative designs is a slatted timber structure that floats and has one story submerged below the water level. Designs now exist for an entire housing complex that can float and is set on artificial islands.

Other examples of floating architectural design that are meeting the challenges of rising water levels can be found in Lagos, Nigeria, which is battling significant rises in tides and water levels. Architect Kunle Adeymi has designed numerous floating buildings in the region, including schools and radio stations. Other innovations are being offered by teams from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Their idea was to design and build prefabricated houses that can be shipped and assembled anywhere in the world.

From The Design Studio

Collection from the ADG showroom

custom lighting, design, architecture

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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The Passing of an Architectural Giant

“Neave was a pioneer. He showed us how intellectual rigor, sensitive urbanism, and supreme design skill, with determination, could deliver wellbeing to the local community he served so well.”

Ben Derbyshire, RIBA President

An RIBA Gold Medal winner and one widely considered a giant for his contributions, the architectural community suffered the loss of Neave Brown at age 88. He passed on January 9th in London, England. Brown was a celebrated architect and social housing pioneer, best known for his work on three iconic post-war housing designs in London.

Brown was an American-born British architect and artist. He specialized in modernist housing and is best known for his modernist, high-density housing designs across the U.K. He is the only architect to have had all his UK work listed. In October 2017, he won the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects for his 1968 design of Alexandra Road Estate, which is now considered a landmark of British social housing.

The basic design of the complex was determined in 1968, but met with opposition from the Camden Planning Department, who believed that a low-rise development may not reach the required population density. The project was finally approved in 1969, the license granted in 1970 and construction began in 1972. The first residents settled in 1978, although overall it was completed in 1979. It was the first Alexandra Estate housing complex which won the postwar protection grade II in 1993 at that time it was described as “one of the most prominent groups of buildings produced in England since World war exceptional architectural interest.” The property was declared a Conservation Area in 1994.

The property consists of three blocks east to west in parallel, and occupies a site in a crescent shape. Rowley Way has its main entrance on the west, in Abbey Road NW8, the famous Abbey Road immortalized by the Beatles in Camden, in the city of London.

“He brought a thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit to his architecture which has been appreciated by generations of residents of his social housing. It was fitting that the RIBA Gold Medal award last year gave him the opportunity to experience the love that so many have for his work, and for the man.”

John Grindrod, author of Concretopia – a Journey around the Rebuilding of Post War Britain

From the Factory Floor

White metallic ring pendant in production phase 5

IMG 7594

#modernhome #floridabound

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