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Monthly Archives: June 2019

r lee miller architect

Privacy on a High Level in Homes Built by R. Lee Miller

Hidden in plain sight along a hillside in Palm Springs are rock dwellings otherwise known as Araby Rock Houses, created and built by organic architect R. Lee Miller. Miller liked to build in very difficult places, such as on the side of a mountain. His unique and well-designed structures were remarkable.

Miller built his unique homes in certain secret locations, such as the private community of the Andreas Canyon Club, founded in 1923. These are the “Where’s Waldo” of houses because they are camouflaged by their own surroundings. Miller went on to purchase 330 acres, just above Ramon Road with the intention of building another hillside community there; unfortunately, that plan never came to fruition.  

We know very little about R. Lee Miller. It seems that his architectural creations were a true representation of himself; he hid in plain sight.

Here is what we do know. Robert Lee Miller was born in Hill, Texas in the year 1887. He went on to serve his country in World War I. After he served his country, he trained as a civil engineer; after moving to Palm Springs, Miller took up carpentry and built many homes in the Palm Springs area, including a home for the president of US Steel. Miller also built an adobe and rock home next to the present day Moorten Botanical Garden for actor Reginald Owen. 

The irony is that despite Miller’s prolific work in building homes, he had not had any formal training in architecture. It’s as though he came out of nowhere, created and then just disappeared in plain sight, very much like the houses he built. You can learn more interesting information on early Palm Springs architects by visiting the city of Palm Springs website

From the Factory Floor

Work in progress

Image From IOS

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Bauhaus Dessau 4

Gropius Created a Global Vision with the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus school was originally established in 1919 in Weimar in Thuringia, Germany. The school was the brainchild of architect Walter Gropius. Although the school only lasted 14 years, it literally changed the art world by establishing the principles of modern design.

Very much like a human child, the Bauhaus school upheld and carried the values of its father, which in this case is Walter Gropius’ distinct vision of modern life.

Gropius apprenticed for Peter Behrens, who was thought of as the founding father of industrial design and corporate identity. Behrens fancied himself as not just designing buildings, but also the rooms and what was to go into those rooms. Gropius seemed to have a knack for combining materials such as poured concrete and frosted glass along with tiles and desert cacti, and creating a visual brand. This eventually was the element that created the path for what we know as modern architecture design.

Inside the Bauhaus was their manifesto, which read, “The ultimate aim of all creative activity is the building!” The Bauhaus was “the servant of the workshop.” The school had masters, journeymen and apprentices, not teachers or pupils.

Not wanting for the Bauhaus to become a conventional academy, Gropius wrote that his method was to “ leave everything in flux.”

Everything produced in the school was a collaboration; one workshop would contribute and collaborate with the other. For example, to make a chair the school’s textile workshop would make the woven seats. The Model B3 Chair was created with the inspiration from one of the youngest students, Marcel Breuer. He got the inspiration from handlebars of a milkman’s bicycle; from a certain angle the chair looked like it was suspended or levitated into space. But to get these creative collaborative pieces of furniture art to market failed.

Once the Bauhaus school ceased, it became a global style all its own. In 1936, Harvard Graduate School of Design hired Gropius. Both Gropius and his wife settled in Massachusetts where they built their home in Lincoln. Not only was the house made out of redwood boards, but the roof is flat and based on Bauhaus principles.

Today, when you tour the iconic house, you will see design elements that were way ahead of its time. Among these elements that took years to catch on were cork floors, acoustic plaster, a dishwasher, and garbage disposal. Upon his death in 1969, part of his legacy that he leaves behind are his progressive ideas and vision for our present.

Presently, Germany will be celebrating 100 years of the Bauhaus, now back and rebuilt on its original location and part of Bauhaus University complete with a reconstructed Walter Gropius Room. More can be read on this iconic trailblazer in a new biography, by Fiona MacCarthy, “Gropius: The Man Who Built the Bauhaus.”

From the Factory Floor

Resin poured barstools…

adg custom furniture

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Los Angeles Architecture Architect Adg

Los Angeles Is Synonymous with Modern Architecture

With examples such as the Schindler House built in 1922 in West Hollywood, the Fitzpatrick- Leland House built in 1936 on Laurel Canyon, and the Mackey Apartments built in 1939 on South Cochran Ave, Los Angeles has been the mecca of modern architecture for almost 100 years.

The modern movement, or modern architecture defined in simple terms, is based on new groundbreaking, and many times avant-garde technologies of construction. The materials used are also part of the allure, for along with its clean lines and minimalist concept is the use of such materials as glass, steel, and reinforced concrete. The mantra of modern architecture is form follows function, which accounts for such innovative shaped buildings and creative living spaces.

Los Angeles is still going strong in the new crop of architects that are making their way into neighborhoods and city streets by way of their uniquely constructed building and living concepts.

Are you curious about how to see all the new modern masterpieces in Los Angeles architecture all at once? A book published by Prestel available on Amazon titled “New Architecture Los Angeles” does a fantastic job of chronicling the new modern architecture starting from the year 2000.

Akin to designing and building a piece of architectural genius, this book is also a collaboration of text written by Brooke Hodge, whose resume includes Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Hammer Museum; Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, and most recently was named Palm Springs Art Museum’s first Architecture & Design Director.

The pictures in this book are breathtaking and taken by architectural photographer Mike Kelley.  

Some examples of the new modern architecture include: the Formosa 1140, built in 2008 on North Formosa in West Hollywood and designed by Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects (LOHA); the Wilshire Grand Center, built and designed by AC Martin in 2017 and located on (surprise) Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown LA; and the Vespertine, built in 2016 in Culver City by Eric Owen Moss Architects.

Los Angeles is just one of those cities which happens to have a psychic architectural past…just one of the many mysteries of living in LA.

Hot off the Press!

ADG Lighting Founder Featured in Architectural Digest

Our founder Gerald Olesker was interviewed for Architectural Digest for this feature on how the trade war is impacting design businesses

adg architecture lighting Read the Article




Madrid and the Gift of Inspiration

In Madrid, as you approach the Museo Nacional del Prado, you will notice that preparations are underway for this year’s 200th anniversary celebration. The Museo Nacional del Prado originally opened its doors in November of 1819. The museum houses many of the most cherished works by Goya, El Greco, Velazquez and Rubens and is a sight to behold.

The inspiration starts as you saunter down the street on your way to the Museo Nacional del Prado; note that a quick brisk walk is impossible due to all the architectural beauty surrounding Mardrid’s streets. Please note that even though the museum is currently renovating, they are still holding exhibitions and events in other locations in the city to mark their 200th anniversary.

One could say that the beautifully designed buildings that surround Madrid, the capital of  Spain, are akin to the masterpiece paintings viewed at an exquisite art museum. Speaking of museums, Madrid is the home of many important museums that house some of the greatest works of Western art in the world.

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is another museum that houses 20th-century art and is part of the Golden Triangle of Art, containing three of the most important art museums in the world. Once you read about the various exhibits and collections currently showing, you will make a beeline to the Reina Sofia just to see how a 20th-century master interrupts the world you grew up in. This is just fascinating!

The last and third in the Golden Triangle is the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which houses the most influential collections of private art ever assembled. The museum opened its doors in 1992; an agreement had to be set in place between the Spanish government and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The building itself of the Thyssen-Bornemisza is the Palace of Villahermosa, and it’s considered one of the most important buildings in Madrid’s palatial architecture, dating back to the early 17th century.

You’ll come back from Madrid inspired, and that’s priceless.

From the ADG Design Studio

 Yes, we make furniture too!

Architecture Design Lighting

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting