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Los Angeles Architecture: Swinging Back to the Roaring Twenties

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”
~ Mary Pickford

Trends in architecture follow the ebb and flow of society. Our architecture reflects the feelings and image we want to project of the community. Each time there is a change, it reflects a fresh start. Los Angeles is embracing that fresh start with a noticeable change in the face of her architecture.

From the best new bars and eateries, we are seeing the emergence of Art Deco style in the architecture of Los Angeles. This is a significant change in the face of the culture and style of the city. For years, the trend was in modern Scandinavian. White walls and blond woods were the face of our architectural and design face across Los Angeles. Now, were are seeing the strong and bold elements of Art Deco sweep across the city, changing the face of our culture, taking it back to the roaring twenties and classic old Hollywood.

Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. It influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theaters, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. It combined modernist styles with exceptional craftsmanship and luxurious materials. During the height of its popularity, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress, especially in Hollywood.

Cities usually have a single architectural identity. Los Angeles is known for many. It was an incubator of the American Craftsman style, and it embraced Beaux-Arts, as well as Spanish Colonial Revival and Mayan Revival, which found a powerful advocate in Frank Lloyd Wright. Art Deco arrived in Los Angeles and took over the design of the city during the decades when movie studios became the cornerstone of an economy that had previously relied primarily on oil. It left a stunning cache of public buildings in its wake.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles (ADSLA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and awareness of Art Deco as a major influence on the 20th century and beyond. The ADSLA has joined with local organizations, as well as Art Deco Societies around the world, to protect the architectural treasures and better educate the public on the importance of historic preservation to the community.

Hot Off the Press

Our work has been featured in California Homes magazine! Thank you and congratulations to Paul Williger Architects and Nancy Isaacs Interior Design for collaborating with us.

CA Homes Sept 2017








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French Architecture: Former National Library Gets A Decade Long Facelift

The National Library of France is a major research and conservation library. Its origins date back to the middle ages, when the kings started developing and expanding their private collections. Charles V was the first to formalize the National Library by installing the library in a tower of the Louvre in 1368. The increase in collections made necessary the modernization of the library in the 19th century. Under the guidance of the general administrator Léopold Delisle, in 1874 the cataloging of printed books was started, while the architect Labrouste built the reading room which bears his name and was used for the consultation of books until the transfer of the collections to the Site François-Mitterrand.

Getting a Ten Year Architectural Facelift

The French Government decided in the early 2000s that the aging building had become unsuitable for the demands of the 21st century, and a major overhaul was planned. The work started in 2011, with Bruno Gaudin’s architecture firm responsible for the project’s general management, while the restoration of the listed ‘Salle Labrouste’ was entrusted to Jean-François Lagneau. While keeping the library partially open, the renovation was divided into two phases, with the second stage set to complete in 2020.

In order for them to be as architecturally accurate as possible, the architects completed exhaustive historical and structural studies. While striking a balance between restoration and contemporary addition, the architects developed different typologies of ‘weaves’, which set up a variety of dialogs between architecture, history, and technique.

Two further galleries, designed by Henri Labrouste, have been preserved. Both spaces comprise self-supporting wood and metal shelving and a floor covered in cast iron grates. The Viennot gallery, which houses the collections of the performing arts, is presented through the glass curtain wall of public circulation, while the gallery Des Petits-Champs has been adapted to serve as a second reading room.

After a decade of facelift and restoration, the facility has reopened earlier than scheduled.

From the Factory Floor

A new sculpture rises …

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by ADG Lighting