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The Crazy Architecture of Southern California

Southern California is home to the movie capital of the world. Creativity and imagination is what inspires our culture and our economy. The environment of make-believe allows entrepreneurial spirits to create environments and products that allow us to get lost in our imaginations. These inspirations could not be lost on the architectural world in our region. A British traveler noted after a visit to Southern California in the 1930’s that either “we had lost our minds or he had stumbled into a fantasy universe.” So was the influence of mimetic architecture in Southern California.

The practice of mimetic architecture, also known as novelty or programmatic architecture, is a style of building design popularized in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. It is characterized by unusual building designs that mimic the purpose or function of the building, or the product it is associated with. Mimetic architecture was particularly popular between the 1920s and 1950s, as cars became widespread and freeways were built across America. Some roadside architecture started to be seen as a means for advertising to passing cars. For example, a roadside restaurant might be designed in the shape of a giant hot dog, a coffee shop in the shape of a coffee pot, or a fruit stand in the shape of a piece of fruit.

“If, when you went shopping, you found you could buy cakes in a windmill, ices in a gigantic cream-can, flowers in a huge flowerpot, you might begin to wonder whether you had not stepped through a looking glass or taken a toss down a rabbit burrow and could expect Mad Hatter or White Queen to appear round the next corner.”

British tourist visiting LA, 1930’s

From the iconic Brown Derby, to the numerous wigwam hotels that dotted the region, to giant donuts, ice cream and hotdogs, Southern California have been replete with some of the finest examples of mimetic architecture. While none of these buildings were terribly important in the historical value of the region, others were iconic landmarks that will remain etched in our historical memories and evoke the culture and feel of the Southern California lifestyle.

From the ADG Jobsite

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

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mid-century modern hotels, architecture, adg lighting blog

Mid-Century Modern Architecture: Refreshing the Classic Hotels

The mid-century modern movement was an American reflection of the international and Bauhaus movements, including the works of Gropius, Florence Knoll, Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. American designs of mid-century architecture were frequently employed in residential structures with the goal of bringing modernism into America’s post-war suburbs. This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor plans, with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in.

Without doubt, mid-century hotels are popular both with nostalgic travelers and with millennials who admire the timeless modern design and the casual ambiance it embodies. Recently, several iconic mid-century hotels in the U.S. have been reinvented and given a facelift, while still retaining the essence of the era. These structures cheerfully embraced their mid-century heritage with a renewed vibe and updated feel, welcoming guests to enjoy a glimpse of stylish history while enjoying modern comforts and amenities.

The Monkey Tree Hotel – Palm Springs, CA

The heart of mid-century architecture, Palm Springs is known for its numerous examples of both private residences and hotels. Showcasing its well-defined mid-century history, the boutique Monkey Tree opened its doors in 2016 as a revitalized version of its former inception, which was designed in 1960 by famed Palm Springs architect Albert Frey. A renowned celebrity hangout in years past, guests of the Monkey Tree have included stars Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Eric Clapton, Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn.

The Diplomat Beach Resort – Hollywood Beach, FL

A rekindled beachfront property, The Diplomat Beach Resort was a hip Southern Florida hangout for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies in the 1960s. After a grand re-opening in April 2017, the Diplomat celebrates its illustrious past with a multi-million dollar renovation and distinctive design elements.

Andaz West Hollywood – West Hollywood, CA

A prime location in the heart of the famous Sunset Strip, the Andaz WeHo’s clean lines and minimalist exterior instantly became a legendary property. Nicknamed the Hyatt “Riot” House during its heyday in the early 1970s, it was a raucous home away from home for major rock bands including Led Zeppelin and The Who.

Watergate Hotel – Washington, D.C.

Infamously known for its’ role in the 1970s political scandal, the Watergate Hotel’s classic architecture is considered the finest example of mid-century hotel design. Located on the banks of the Potomac River, the iconic property was revitalized in 2016, after being shuttered for over a decade. Today, the hotel today is reinvigorated, following extensive renovations and major luxurious upgrades.

ADG has worked on a number of major hotels and resorts worldwide. Check out our portfolio of hospitality clients.

From the ADG Job Site

Inspired collections through the centuries by Gerald Olesker. Onyx and bronze lantern.

custom lighting, adg lighting blog

frank sinatra, palm springs, mid century modern, design, custom lighting manufacturer

Celebrating Palm Springs Style, Frank Sinatra’s Way

I Did It My Way

Just after World War II, Frank Sinatra first visited Palm Springs. He was captivated by the simplicity and beauty of the desert retreat. It was an attractive opportunity for Sinatra because of the beauty, the hometown feel of the community and the close proximity to Los Angeles. Other stars, including Ava Gardner and Lana Turner, were calling Palm Springs home and Sinatra was part of that community. During the 50’s, as his career grew, so did his property. He sold the first home he had purchased and moved into a new property that became the Sinatra compound. He was meticulous in keeping the detail and natural environment in the desert intact in the compound. The home grew into a place of luxury, style and comfort for both Sinatra and the guests that he welcomed there.

Enjoying Comfort Sinatra’s Way

Sinatra expanded his compound to offer the maximum comfort, privacy and luxury for his guests. The compound was expanded by 2 1/2 acres, with two 2 bedroom guest homes added, with all the comforts and luxury he could offer. Each home occupied a place off either end of his swimming pool. Each cottage offered his-and-her bathrooms, including salon quality amenities. The main house was also expanded to offer a 24 seat dining room and a restaurant size kitchen. As a guest of Sinatra, one never wanted for anything! He ensured that whatever a guest might need or desire, he was able to provide that. It was a focus on pure luxury and relaxation. Prior to being elected President, John F. Kennedy was a guest in the compound and Sinatra installed a plaque to commemorate the event. The compound continued to experience expansion at the direction of Sinatra. These expansions included a tennis court, helicopter pad, a projection room and an office to display his multitudes of Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and gold records. Two additional cottages were added to the compound, one of which was the “Christmas Tree House.” This cottage was a four bedroom home with a living room, kitchen and swimming pool, which was built specifically for his children. They gave it the name because of the big pine tree out front.

Experiencing Palm Springs

Palm Springs remains an exciting desert oasis for its wealthy and well-to-do guests and residents. It also reflects the inspired style of a bygone era that is immortalized by Sinatra. It is the largest concentration of mid-century modern architecture in the United States and inspired the design aesthetic called Desert Modernism. Palm Springs was designated as a Preserve America City in 2009 by President Obama and has been identified in the top 12 cultural tourism destinations in America.

At ADG Lighting, we are profoundly inspired and moved by the environment in Palm Springs. For us, Palm Springs represent a mecca of creativity and design.

We are proud that our work has been viewed millions of times online and featured in many high-end luxury projects across the West Coast and Southern California. Our work has also been featured in several media outlets, including 20/Twenty Architectural & Beyond, California Homes Magazine, Elle Decor, SFV Business Journal, Architectural Digest, Institute of Classical Architecture Publications, Wall Street Radio, Fox News Charlene on Green Hawaii, North American Design’s Green Leaders of Tomorrow, LA City Watch, LUXE Magazine + other award-winning magazines, books, programs and properties around the world.

Be sure to visit our website and explore our creativity. See how easy it is to innovate and collaborate with ADG Lighting! Feel free to contact us at 818-597-9494 or email us at info@adglighting.com.

 

 

Palm Springs Modernism Show

Design Creatives Gather in Palm Springs

The team at ADG Lighting is excited to have the opportunity to participate in the 16th Annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale. Featuring and showcasing 85 premier national and international dealers, the event was created to celebrate and foster appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking. Featured offerings will showcase furniture, decorative and fine arts of all design movements of the 20th century.

Palm Springs Modernism Show

ADG will be collaborating with noted interior designer Michael Berman on a show house. “We thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing event that celebrates such an influential design aesthetic,” said Gerald Olesker, founder and CEO of ADG Lighting.

The event will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center February 12-15 2016. Visit the show’s website for more information. We look forward to seeing you in Palm Springs!