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Hearst Castle Exterior, San Simeon California

The Mysteries of Hearst Castle

Once upon a time, there was a man named William Randolph Hearst. He was a famous American newspaper publisher and business tycoon. He lived in a castle on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Simeon.

The vision of Hearst Castle was the brainchild of William Randolph Hearst himself, but the genius who made it all happen was American architect and engineer, Julia Morgan. Julia was ahead of her time; her prolific career happened in a male-dominated industry during a time in our history where women were thought of as “keepers of the castle.” Well, Julia was building them! Julia designed over 700 buildings, and her most famous accomplishment was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.

One more note on this award-winning architect: she pioneered the aesthetic use of reinforced concrete that has proven to hold up to seismic movements that happen during strong earthquakes. She died in 1957 at the age of 85. 

William Randolph Hearst lived in the castle from 1919 to 1947, and like any other homeowner with an expendable income, construction on the property continued all the way until right before his death. He was forced to move out in 1947 because of his failing health. He died in 1951.

An interesting unknown detail is that at the time Hearst vacated the estate, it had remained unfinished. This was due to his constant design changes, so Hearst never got to really enjoy and see the entire castle in the state of completion. Although by the time he left the castle, it had contained 165 rooms and the square footage was well over 90,000 square feet. There were also 123 acres of gardens, so he did get to enjoy some of the fruits of his imagination.

As part of the process, Hearst would travel to Europe and see the ceilings from churches and monasteries. When he would see one he liked, he would have it disassembled in Europe and later reassembled in California.

Back in its heyday, Hearst Castle entertained the very elite, from Hollywood royalty to notable politicians. Hearst the man wanted to impress the unattainable, and that he did…and his castle still does today. Currently people come from all over the world to enjoy tours given at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

ADG Lighting was a past licensee of the Hearst Castle Collection of Decorative Lighting & Iron. Check out the atelier chrome fixtures and lamps that formerly sat at the Hearst estate.

 

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
HERE

 

 

madrid-art-architecture

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

 

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Finds New Home in Historical Los Angeles Architecture

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is slated to open in the Fall of 2019 and is bringing new life to the mid-city region of Los Angeles. It will inspire and attract fans of the cinematic arts from around the world. But this iconic venue will not just attract movie fans to Los Angeles; it will attract the interest of architects and designers to visit one of the most recognizable architectural landmarks in the City of Angels. The museum will be in the old May Company building in the Miracle Mile in the Fairfax District.

Completed in 1939, the May Company building was the finest example of streamlined modern architecture in the region and was heralded as the western gateway to the Miracle Mile. The enormous gold-tiled cylinder at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard was a beacon for all. The May Company department store was seen as the height of luxury and convenience in Los Angeles.  

The building’s architect was Albert Martin Sr., who also designed the Million Dollar Theater and the Los Angeles City Hall. Starting in 1908, Martin started his own firm and designed some 1,500 buildings in Southern California. The May Company building was his final notable project in the region. In 1959, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce recognized Martin for his contributions to the development of Los Angeles, by awarding him its annual “Man of Achievement” award.

Without doubt, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be located on hallowed ground in Los Angeles. Its home will have been painstakingly restored to its original glamorous detail. For both the movie buff and the architectural aficionado, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will not only be a home, but a rebirth of one of the finest examples of streamlined modern architecture in the city. It will be a partnership that will revive the spirit of a grand time gone by.        

From the ADG Job Site

One of our modern lanterns set in the landscape…

adg custom lighting

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG

Francois Perrin Architecture

Francois Perrin Defined Architectural Boundaries

Architect Francois Perrin, known as the center of gravity of Los Angeles architecture and united the design community, passed away after a long battle with cancer at age 50. As the founder of Air Architecture, the Paris-born architect worked in Southern California while remaining professionally active in France. Francois Perrin will forever be known for his creative and inventive approach to materials, and for his ability to rethink everyday life through his work.

Born in Paris, Francois Perrin would eventually settle in Los Angeles, where his design practice, Air Architecture, was well known for creating materially inventive spaces filled with ethereal physical qualities that transcended everyday experiences. His architectural projects were widely published. His Venice Air House from 2006, an addition to a single-family home that used trapped air visible through clear polycarbonate siding as a form of insulation, was well known. His Hollywood Hills house from 2012 was designed as a series of terraces that simultaneously disappeared into and were hung off of a steeply-sloped site. In 2004, the Francois Perrin project The Weather Garden changed the courtyard of Materials & Applications in Los Angeles using netting, a wooden platform, and palm tree saplings.

In 2019 at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, Consul General bestowed on François Perrin a knighthood, Insignia of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

From the ADG Factory Floor

Yes, we make furniture! This piece went to a client in San Francisco

adg-custom-furniture

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting