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2375099 Front View Of The Winchester Mystery House In San Jose, Ca.

One of a Kind Design by Sarah Winchester

Sarah Winchester, while known as an architect, was probably most noted as an American heiress who acquired great wealth after her husband’s death. Her husband was William Wirt Winchester of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, a rifle manufacturer. In fact, the Model 1873 was hailed as the “Gun that Won the West” and is still being produced today.

Sarah went on to become the architect of the Winchester Mystery House, which would end up being her legacy. This was partly due to the fact that her late husband manufactured rifles.

Sarah purchased a small, eight-room farmhouse in San Jose, California in 1886. She then went on to hire a construction crew who worked day and night. They split shifts so they could keep building 24/7 for 38 years. They stopped building on September 5th, 1922, the day Sarah died of heart failure.

The Winchester House is 24,000 square foot Victorian Queen-Anne style home. As the sole architect, Sarah would hold a meeting at the start of the day to discuss what aspect of the house she wanted built next. However, there have never been any building plans found; her plans were ever-evolving and stored in her head.

The beautiful exterior hid many architectural oddities, which included trapped doors, secret passages, spider-web windows, and a staircase that led nowhere. There were doors that opened to nothing, and if you weren’t looking, you could drop all the way down. Of course, there were other doors that would open to a concrete wall. This labyrinthine style never took off for the masses, but Sarah felt that it would protect her from vengeful ghosts.

Supposedly through a medium, William told Sarah that the tragic loss of their only child was the result of the Winchester rifles they manufactured that killed many, and that their wealth was based on the blood money from the misery of others. That’s what produced the vengeful spirits. The Winchester House was built as a home to protect Sarah and the spirits who died tragically from this “terrible weapon.”

In 1974, the Winchester House was designated a California Historic Landmark (Number 868) and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1996, the mansion was designated a San Jose Historic Landmark.

From the Factory Floor  

Alabaster and frosted lens illuminated. Bigger than life…

IMG 1978

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

worlds fair NYC

The World’s Fair: Exploring the Pinnacle of Innovation

 “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.” David Bowie 

Ahhh, the excitement of the world’s fair! Before we go on our journey, as you fasten your mental seatbelts, let’s go over some facts about this great event.

There have been 100+ world’s fairs in various locations around the globe. The United States has hosted 11 world’s fairs, starting with the one in Philadelphia in 1876 and ending with the world’s fair in New Orleans in 1984. 

These large exhibitions take us into the world of tomorrow by showcasing the nation’s design, architectural, and technological achievements, highlighting the success of tomorrow…but here today.

Let’s dig into one of the most memorable world’s fairs…

World’s Fair, New York City, 1964-65

Location: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens

So what did the future have in store for us, and what we have come to know as part of our modern world? Well, sit back in your seats, and please don’t spoil it for your neighbors by telling them what you know about the end results! Check out these innovations on YouTube:

The Small World Ride at Disneyland 

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Part 1

The Carousel of Progress

The UNICEF Exhibit 

The following incredible exhibits by Disney made their debut at the New York World’s Fair for the very first time:

The Unisphere: Known as one of the largest globes ever made, it has become the symbol of Queens. Designed by landscape architect Gilmore Clarke, this giant steel globe measures 120 feet in diameter, 140 feet in height, and weighs 700,000 lbs. However, some sources have it reported at 900,000 lbs., including its inverted tripod base, and is made of stainless steel. The three rings represent the first NASA satellites to orbit the earth. 

Belgian Waffles: Maurice Vermersch and his wife Rose introduced waffles as a dessert by adding whipped cream and strawberries.

Ford Mustang: It made its grand debut here, and was a huge hit with sports car lovers. The Ford Motor Company introduced this gem to the world, and at an affordable price of approx $2,300, it sold more than 400,000 in its first year.

The World Trade Center: Architect Minoru Yamasaki debuted a scale model of the World Trade Center along with the Twin Towers.

RCA Color Television: Made for the masses in an interactive studio.

Picturephone: Bell Laboratories shared its technology for allowing people to talk on the phone and view the person whom they were speaking to. Facetime or Skype, anyone?

Minnesota is set to bid to host the 2027 World’s Fair.  Perhaps the magic of the 1964-65 World’s Fair is waiting for us!

From the Factory Floor
Laser cut crowns…

IMG 1953

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Cozy Room Scene With Sleeping Cat In Mid Century Modern Style

The Genius of Great 1960s Architecture

Architecture you see in our day to day reality is designed by innovative and inspired architects. The dictionary defines an architect as, “A person who designs buildings and in many cases supervises their construction.” This means that an architect needs to know the science behind what they design to make sure the structure is sound and stable. 

Now add the art, since artistry is a big part of being an architect. Architects create entire realities by the structures they design and build. Just look at some of the great 1960s architecture; for example, the Montreal Biosphere, a geodome which made its debut at Expo 67. The American architect Buckminster Fuller designed the dome with a lightweight flexible material and a shading system, which was designed to control the inner temperature. 

Buckminster’s inspiration was the Space Age and aircraft, as well as nature. Today, this stellar example of 1960s architecture stands as an environmental museum after it was bought by the government. So you could say that the legacy of this structure was of historical value, even with its futuristic appearance.

Another example of the genius of 1960s architecture can be seen with the LAX Theme Building. Designed as a joint venture by architect Paul Williams and Welton Becket, it was originally built in 1961 in the architectural styles of mid-century modern and Googie. The building was designated as a historical-cultural monument on December 18, 1993. The renovation cost upwards of $4 million, and the Theme Building was left with a retro-futuristic interior and electric lights that were designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. The building was completed by 1997, when the Encounter Restaurant opened.

The Encounter Restaurant later closed its doors in December 2013. So what does the future hold for the LAX Theme Building? As of this writing, the Los Angeles World Airport officials aren’t sure of how to include a possible hotel into the center area of the building.

Perhaps the actual future of these buildings can only be completed when the future arrives. Maybe that’s the real genius behind these architects and the legacies they left behind.


Berlin Wall German Architecture

The Berlin Wall: Architecture That Symbolized Lack of Freedom

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down this month, we thought we’d share some interesting facts about this historic monument.

The irony of the Berlin Wall was that the idea was conceived and built by the East German administration, led by Soviet Leader Nikita Khruschev, as a way to separate East Germany and Federal Republic of Germany (aka West Germany). Their goal was to protect their citizens from a capitalist society, but it actually caused East Germany from progressing forward.

The Berlin Wall was built on August 13th, 1961, and was 12 feet high and approximately 27 miles long. The Berlin Wall had armed East German border guards, 302 guard towers, and  had more than one million landmines and approximately 3,000 attack dogs. 

Families were separated and numerous people lost their lives trying to cross the Berlin Wall from the east side to the west side. Desperate attempts were made; the first one recorded was by a woman named Ida Siekmann. She jumped out of her apartment window and fell onto the concrete on the west side of the Berlin Wall.

It’s safe to say that symbolically speaking, those of us who see the wall as imprisonment for the East Germans are on the west side of the story, regardless of where we lived. To cut off freedom and progress as a way to maintain control will only lead to negative consequences. 

Today’s former East Germany still suffers, because the unification of Germany wasn’t an equal one and still suffers the remnants of what the division brought. West Germany encouraged capitalism and is rich in its resources, as well as being very progressive and in touch with the world. 

Once the Berlin Wall came down, millions of people on the east side lost their jobs. All of the east side now had to abide by West Germany’s laws, rules, and currency. Almost no major corporations have headquarters in East Germany, and the entire society still suffers economic issues.   

The wall came down on November 9th, 1989, but unfortunately like any other torture that’s inflicted, it has left scars among many who have lived through this torment.

Let this serve as a valuable and visual lesson that separation of an entire nation or society is never the answer.

Check out our picture gallery from our time at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Their newest exhibit is called W|ALLS, which explores the historical use and artistic treatment of walls over the centuries.


From the Factory Floor

A touch of the ADG Advantage for a Malibu beach home…

From The Factory Floor 11 13 19

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting




mindful design nyc

Mindful Design in New York: The Zen Is in the Details

Let’s face it, New York City has all the trappings that the busy city life can bring. Imagine you’ve just arrived for a business trip, and you’re anxious, stressed, and tired. Now imagine stepping into a tranquil hotel lobby, where the ambiance immediately gives you a sense of peace and harmony. 

The work by firm Atelier Ace has just achieved this task. A game-changing creative agency based in New York City, they’ve just completed work at the Sister City hotel, located on the Lower East Side. 

The lighting raises your consciousness to the level of perfection. Some of that lighting is provided by original hand-stamped Isamu Noguchi lanterns, and even if the original lanterns aren’t contributing to the perfect lighting that is considered mindful design, their mere presence are inspiring to your senses.

Of course, not everyone will have the same mindful reaction to the music playing in the lobby that is controlled by an app that creates music based on the current weather conditions. Perhaps your mindful design experience will happen with the free-from-commotion experience through their in-room services, which were created in partnership with the Headspace guided meditation app.    

If that doesn’t get you into that peaceful state of mind, then the vintage furniture will, which have all the markings that come with age to perfection. This type of mindful design experience is very much akin to visiting your grandmother and walking into her house, where the chairs, tables or little doodad or trinket provide those feelings of warmth, peace and delight. 

The Atelier Ace firm subscribes to what they describe as the Japanese-Scandinavian inspired “less but better” movement. Sister City stands proudly in an 80,000 square foot property in a building that formerly housed the Salvation Army.

Terrazzo vanities and custom terrazzo flooring are just some of the beautiful features seen throughout the hotel. With the hotel’s simplicity and functionality, the interior design experience is essential in creating a peaceful, zen existence, and where mindful design living begins.From the

From the ADG Job Site

Throwback to an install of our integrated LED modern lights…

From The ADG Job Site 11 6 19

by Gerald Olesker,  CEO, ADG Lighting

architects pet rescue

Architects for Animals Is a Great Cause

Why would feral cats need architects? LA’s top architects and designers were asked to build a unique, one-of-a-kind outdoor shelter or dwelling that is functional to outdoor or feral cats. These original dwellings were then displayed at the “Giving Shelter” gala event, held at the HermanMiller showroom in Culver City. All proceeds benefit FixNation, a non-profit based in Los Angeles that provides free spay/neuter services for stray, homeless, and feral cats.

Today’s families, as well as single individuals, take animal homelessness very seriously. On any given weekend or holiday, there are fundraisers and promotions to get homeless animals into their fur-ever homes.

But what about feral cats? Let’s define these felines: a feral cat is one who is born in the wild or outdoors and has little to no human interaction. Due to their lack of socialization, they are scared of humans and will lash out. There is a period of time (usually when the kitten is three to eight weeks old) that if exposed to humans, can be socialized and adopted out. The ones who aren’t socialized are feral and live outdoors, but they still need dwellings and protection from the elements. 

Some of the architectural design firms that were asked to participate in this year’s sold-out gala included: Abramson Teiger Architects, 3Darchitecture, HOK, Morphosis/Xtech, Perkins & Will, Stantec (fka) RNL, RDC, Standard Architecture and Design, Tracy A. Stone, Word Design & Architecture, among others. These architects created functional designs that the cats would love and use. 

Also on display at this gala event were cat food bowls that were decorated by animal-loving celebrities such as William Shatner, Morgan Fairchild, Jason Momoa, Clint Eastwood, and Charlize Theron. 

FixNation’s co-founder Karn Myers was pleased with the creativity as well as the level of practical application in the designs. FixNation is a very successful model and example for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for humane feral cat colony management programs globally.  Myers and her late husband Mark Dodge, founded FixNation in 2007 as an effective and compassionate alternative to mass euthanasia. 

Look for their gala event next year!

From the ADG Jobsite

Sculpture for Malibu home in collaboration with Cami Forte…

Adg Job Site Oct 2019

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting