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Palm Springs Is California’s Hidden Treasure

Once upon a time, Palm Springs attracted two types of visitors. The first group was mostly movie stars and wannabes. The second group consisted of those who desired a healthier way of living, which was due in part because of the location’s mineral springs and their apparent healing properties.

Although Palm Springs past was somewhat unattainable to the average individual who was healthy and wealthy, today’s Palm Springs is attainable to all, and boy does it have a lot of interesting history to offer. Architectural styles anyone?

After World War II, there was a huge construction boom. Since it was known for its wealthy inhabitants, many top architects were attracted to this quiet area hidden in the Coachella Valley. 

By this time, the modernism style of architecture had made its way to the United States and more importantly, had given Southern California architects food for thought and creation.

They were inspired by the Bauhaus approach to design, as well as the International Style of architecture, which had created an elegant yet functional look. This is referred to as desert modernism.

Desert modernism embraces the exterior environment and incorporates its celebration into the architectural design. So in this case, the warm and sunny climate of Palm Springs was welcomed by houses designed with expansive glass walls and huge windows, open floor plans, and of course dramatic roof designs.

When you think about it, it seems that houses were designed to hide from its surroundings, a way to take refuge. But embracing the beautiful surroundings as part of your interior decor seems to bring the genius of this style into the spotlight.

Every year, Palm Springs holds Modernism Week, which celebrates the countless mid-century modern houses in Palm Springs. It is worth the trip and find yourself exploring the historical architecture and culture. 

From the Factory Floor

…Brass Balls

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO ADG Lighting

 

 

 

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Modernist Architects Arthur Fehr and Charles Granger

It was as though both Arthur Fehr and Charles Granger were sent here in 1946 from the future on a time travel mission to make their impact on the industry of architecture and design! Although they were two separate men walking their path of education and experience in the same industry, it wasn’t until 1946 when they became partners and established Fehr & Granger (F&G) in Austin, Texas that they experienced great success.

Their designs would captivate many and move the industry into the era of mid-century modernism. Post-World War ll was a time for new economic growth and opportunities, which helped pave the way for modern (or more commonly known as modernist architecture). Modernist architecture followed the belief that “form should follow function.” This style of architecture also gave birth to new innovative construction and use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete as building materials of choice.

Fehr & Granger labeled themselves as Austin modernists, and rightfully so as they were instrumental in designing some of the most important buildings in and around Austin, staying with their progressive, modernist style. Some of their most notable accomplishments in both residential and commercial architecture include:

  • Sneed Residence in Austin (circa 1953)
  • O. Henry Junior High School Austin (1954)
  • Saint Stephen’s Chapel Austin (1955) 
  • Clifton Hall at Texas Lutheran College in Seguin (1956)
  • Robert Mueller Airport (1959)
  • Austin National Bank (1961)

Charles Granger died in a car accident in 1966, so Arthur Fehr held down the fort at F&G until his death in 1969.

The firm of F&G received many awards over the years for their designs, including two separate awards for their design of the Robert Mueller Airport, in 1959 and in 1961. 

Charles also built the Granger House and The Perch, a pair of historic homes in Austin, in 1951. Both homes were both recorded on the National Register of Historic Places. Not bad for a modernist. 

 

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Great Modernist Architect I.M. Pei Passed At 102

To describe modernist architect I.M. Pei as a progressive visionary is an understatement. Although initially opposed, his modernist designs are now some of the most revered in the world. It was as though I.M. Pei himself is responsible for designing the future. The glass pyramid in the Louvre Museum courtyard is a shining example of his genius.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou, China in 1917. At age 18, he moved to the United States to study at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and MIT. While at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Pei met and studied with German architect Walter Groplus, who was the founder of the Bauhaus design movement. Their mantra was known as form follows function; you could say it was the beginning of the modern architecture era. In 1955, Pei started his own architectural firm that he named I.M. Pei and Associates.

Change is difficult, and when he was chosen for the Louvre project by the president of France Francois Mitterrand as a gesture to leave his mark on Paris, unfortunately it wasn’t to the delight of the French people. Eventually the French grew to love this glass structure that was completed in 1989, and is now considered to be one of Paris’s most famous landmarks.

His works of modern architecture are located all over the world. They include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio; the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, just to name a few. Pei’s list of accomplishments is a long one.

Pei drew inspiration from all different cultures, and liked to think of himself as one whose role was to create a bridge between past and present. Perhaps standing at that bridge gave him the ability to be a visionary; he was able to see the future and that is what he left behind for us to enjoy.

From the Job Site

It’s always exciting when your client sends you photos and says they love what you did…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

FRANCE FIRE NOTRE DAME

Notre Dame Cathedral Fire Inspires Unity and Hope

The French people and the world watched in horror as the flames engulfed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and the spire fell in flames. Our imaginations ran wild as we imagined the potential loss of not only a sacred place of worship, but rare artifacts that were housed within the gothic walls. As the flames were subdued by a gallant fire brigade, news travelled quickly that the initial damage appeared to be minimal, along with a heroic fire brigade chaplain saving numerous artifacts. But the true damage to the Notre Dame Cathedral has yet to be assessed or determined. The question that now presents itself is what is the true structural damage to the building and what will it take to restore the architectural splendor of this grand building.

Construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral began in 1160 A.D., and is surely one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in the world. The project brought together many of the style’s characteristic features of large windows, vertical stresses and slender, pointed arches. The Notre Dame Cathedral inspired the building of a series of great gothic cathedrals across northern cities such as Chartres, Rouen, Amiens and Reims. The structure brought new levels of refinement and artistic expression into style through the magnificent height of the spaces, the unique ornamentation, and the whimsical effects of the stained glass on the light. The Notre Dame Cathedral and similar structures sent a powerful message to the people about Christ, saints and other important figures such as kings and lords of the area.

Only time will tell what the true impact of this devastating fire on this iconic landmark, but the tragedy has moved the people of France and the world into unity. Last reports indicate that donations have been made for restoration which exceed $1 billion. The government of France has energetically committed to absolute perfection in the restoration, no matter how long it takes or what the cost will be. It reflects the inspirational power of the Notre Dame Cathedral on the global community to come together as one.    

From the ADG Job Site 

In Palos Verdes, our project manager Nikki is ensuring the ADG Advantage is taking place with our new kinetic chandelier.

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

ADG 4 custom lighting

Hidden Hills Estate Features ADG Custom Lighting

This gorgeous Hidden Hills estate is the epitome of quality and luxurious design. It is currently on the market for $17.5 million and listed by Marc Shevin of Berkshire Hathaway.

To accentuate and refine the design quality of the home, ADG Lighting was commissioned to design and custom manufacture lighting fixtures throughout. The wide-open floor plan prominently features high volume ceilings, glass sliding walls and magnificent picture windows which flood the home with natural light. This Hidden Hills estate offers 11,850 square feet of living space, including 6 bedrooms with an additional 2,300 square feet of living space over the four-car garage. It is loaded with amenities which include a private study, a spa with steam shower and sauna, along with a mirrored gym. There so also a 4-stall barn with turnout, as well as multiple fruit and shade trees.

ADG Lighting enjoyed the opportunity to design and build lighting throughout the home, including the gas lights on the pathway and leather-wrapped pendants featured prominently on the property.

Special Thanks to ~ Marc Shevin

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – California Properties

From the ADG Job Site

Thanks William Hefner for having us at your beautiful midcentury reboot. We appreciate helping to design and fabricate this 17-foot long skylight. Three cheers to collaboration and working together! 

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

Cte Stem Architecture

CTE Designates Architecture a STEM Subject

After decades of work, the discipline of architecture has been officially recognized as a STEM subject. Congress passed the STEM legislation designation and the bipartisan bill was sign into law by the  President. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has long lobbied for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act.

The CTE is intended to encourage a more diverse workforce and see that the promise of design as the synthesis of art and science are fulfilled through education. While architects and AIA components have been working to bring design to K-12 students through special programs and activities for years, this bill helps codify those efforts. Importantly, it exposes a new generation of students, and better prepares them for, a career in architecture.

~American Institute of Architects

STEM is an education curriculum that focuses heavily on the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is a growing movement in education around the world. STEM-based learning programs encourage and promote student interest in pursuing higher education and careers in those fields. STEM education typically uses a newer model of blended learning. It combines traditional classroom teaching with online learning and hands-on learning methodologies. Blended learning aims to give students the opportunity to experience different ways of learning and problem-solving. Recent studies show the U.S. ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.

Education in STEM curriculum is crucial to the future of our children and the strength of the U.S. on a global scale. The work of the AIA on the CTE is a strong step towards a stronger future for students.  The CTE will open up more than a billion dollars in career and education grants to the states. It will modernize architecture programs, which have traditionally suffered in most education systems.

From the ADG Job Site

One of four walnut and metalized hanging progressive helix sculptures at the San Manuel Casino!

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting