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route 66 adventure travel

Route 66: Part History, Mostly Romance

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along Route 66 was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along the romantic highway was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, the iconic roadway underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, it was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

 

new york architecture

New York Is An Excellent Example of Diversity at Its Best

In New York City, every building has its own unique style and character, along with its special purpose for being there. Each building stands proudly along its diverse neighbors without an ounce of competition or animosity. We’ll start our discussion of New York’s great architecture with the UN Building, also known as the United Nations Headquarters, located on the East River between 42nd Street and 48th Street.

The United Nations opened its doors in 1952 and is a symbol of hope for post-war peace. Ever so fitting, it represents the very first example of International Style architecture. It is made up of three individual buildings, with a 39-story tower that houses the offices of the UN Secretariat. This building’s complexity and brilliant design is by Brazillian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The UN headquarters will always be a prominent landmark in the New York City skyline.

The Dakota is one of the most prominent and luxurious co-ops in all of New York City, and if the stunning cathedral-like structure doesn’t impress you, the stories behind the Dakota will. The Dakota was built on the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1884. This monumental building gave us the setting for the classic Roman Polanski movie Rosemary’s Baby. Although the Dakota is not a place of worship, after John Lennon died in front of the building some felt a spiritual connection to the property.

Another great example of New York’s diverse architecture is reflected with the 100 Eleventh Avenue building. A residential building resembling a tower, it stands tall at the intersection of 19th Street and the West Side Highway. French architect Jean Nouvel calls his 23-story building a “vision machine.” The way the windows are placed gives the illusion of a Gustav Klimt mosaic. 

Regardless of the taste of the individual, one can’t help but admire the creativity of these architectural geniuses. Diversity works beautifully when it’s a fair playing field, and that’s why we all love New York.

 

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