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Broadway District Los Angeles

The Broadway District Rises Again

“I remember walking into those opulent interiors, surrounded by the glory of the Renaissance, or the age of Baroque, and spending two or three hours in the dream world of the movies. When I came out again the sky blazed; the heat bounced off the sidewalk, traffic sounds filled the street, I was back in the hard reality of the Depression.”

Jack Smith, Los Angeles Times Columnist

By the 1930’s, the Broadway District in Los Angeles had the highest concentration of cinemas in the world and was by far the most famous street in the US. The ornamental baroque style theaters were witness to unprecedented growth of an industry and a downtown region. Like every meteoric growth spurt, there came an equally dynamic fall from grace. The new film industry chose to move operations to a more glamorous Hollywood, and the downtown area of Los Angeles started to slide into economic decline. Before long, Downtown Los Angeles found itself in a state of despair and abandoned by its residents. It was deemed a very dangerous place to be, and the luxurious heyday of the baroque theaters were now surrounded by squalor.

The Broadway District has started to regain its life and splendor through the efforts of many who were passionate never to let this glorious area of Downtown Los Angeles be lost to the wrecking ball. In May of 1979, the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is the largest theater district listed on the register. It remains the largest concentration of movie palaces remaining in the US. With that designation in place, groups such as the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative, the Broadway Theater Group and the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation went to work to revive this glorious area of Downtown Los Angeles. Because of their efforts, Angelenos can now enjoy performances and events in these spectacular venues.

Levitated Broadway is the latest plan to preserve and protect the Broadway District in its original glory, while accommodating the needs of an ever-growing population in Los Angeles. Instead of demolishing some of the old buildings, the plan is to take advantage of space between and on top of the existing structures. This will create new public spaces in the middle of a high-density location, while preserving the integrity and glory of the old district structures and venues.

From the ADG Worksite

Iron lantern at a client’s property

Unnamed

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Antwerp, Belgium, Historical Architecture

The Historic Architecture of the Antwerp Central Railway Station

Widely considered the finest and most beautiful railway station in the world, the Antwerp Central Railway station has reigned supreme since 1905. The original construction occurred between 1895 and 1905 as a replacement for the original terminal building. Louis Delacenserie designed the stone class terminal with a vast regal dome over the main waiting area.

Louis Delacenserie was a Belgian architect from Bruges. His father was a merchant and building contractor from Tournai. At the pinnacle of his career, Delacenserie made use of a rather eclectic Neo-Renaissance style for the station, which reflected the economic and artistic theme of the city in the 16th century. Some aspects of the station, like the use of colors and materials, were clearly influenced by art nouveau architecture.

During World War II, the station suffered damage to the train hall by German V2 flying bombs without destroying the structural viability of the building. The impact of the bombing can still be seen today in a lasting wave-distortion in the roofing of  the main hall.  By the mid-twentieth century, the building had deteriorated far enough where there was serious consideration for demolition. Ultimately, the decision was made to save her and a major restoration was undertaken.  This was completed in 1986. In 1998, a large-scale reconstruction project began to adapt the grand station from a terminus to a through station and to accommodate high-speed rail. This project was completed in 2007 and the grand station was awarded a Grand Prix at the European Union Prize for Culture Heritage/Europa Nostra Award in 2011.

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Antwerp Central Railway station is a ‘must-see’ if you are traveling anywhere in Europe. The style and design of this elegant building is a classic and is so rarely seen anywhere in the world. It reflects the vision and elegance of the times in Western Europe. With proper care and attention to the great value of the structure, it is hoped that caretakers can properly preserve her for future generations to enjoy the splendors.

From the ADG Jobsite

New home waiting for custom lighting from ADG…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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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, architecture, interior design, adg lighting blog

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 …

architecture, custom lighting design, adg lighting blog

by ADG Lighting