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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

NEW YORK CITY, November 19, 2013: Woolworth Building, New York C

The Woolworth Building, New York

For those of us who remember Woolworth’s, the five-and-dime store, it was a wonderful interactive experience. It was a place where you could get creepers, those parakeets that couldn’t fly and were inexpensive enough for kids to be able to purchase and have as a pet. You could get 45 vinyl singles affordably, if you were okay with the record having a hole on the top of the center, as it didn’t affect the sound quality. Best of all was the lunch counter and the food. Woolworth’s was a place where memories were made.

The Woolworth Building was originally deemed the headquarters for Woolworth’s retail stores, even though F.W. Woolworth had been operating without a headquarters for many years with stores all over the world. The site for the building was originally purchased by F.W. Woolworth on April 15th, 1910, for the price of $1.65 million. There weren’t any loans taken out or any type of financing done.

The Woolworth Building, located at 233 Broadway in New York, was once hailed as the tallest building in the world, with its impressive 60 stories measuring 792 feet above street level. The construction of the building took place between 1910 and 1912 and cost $13.5 million. Since F. W. Woolworth paid cash, he had a say in the style in which it was to be built, so he was noted as the developer on record. The architect was Cass Gilbert, who was an early supporter of skyscrapers. The Woolworth Building was constructed in neo-Gothic style, complete with a steel frame structure and stunning sculptures, mosaics, and veined marble brought in from Greece.

On November 13th, 1966, the building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Today, the very top 30 floors of the Woolworth Building houses the most luxurious condominiums ever to grace New York City.  

While many today may never have had the opportunity to visit the iconic store, for those who have, their memories of Woolworth’s probably include lunch at the counter.



Mark Twain

If The Mark Twain House Could Talk

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain (November 30,1835 – April 21, 1910) was a prolific American writer. He wrote classics such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” His writing style always contained his cleverly wicked sense of humor, and his stories were fodder for social commentary.

Twain’s home, now showcasing as a museum, is named as one of the 10 Best Historic Homes in the World and is also on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It also offers tours to the public. 

Twain’s personal adventure began after his father died unexpectedly. At age 11, Twain became a printer’s apprentice, and shortly after that he began contributing articles for the Hannibal Journal. In 1859, he became a river pilot on the Mississippi River and continued until the onset of the American Civil War in 1861. He joined the Marion Rangers, a Confederate militia. He left after the Marion Rangers disbanded. He travelled with his brother and ended up in Virginia City, Nevada, where he worked as a miner, then soon became a writer for the Virginia City newspaper.

On November 18, 1865, a story written by Twain based on something he had overheard about a jumping frog got published in the Saturday Press in New York, and was a big hit with the readers! It was entitled, ”The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

In his book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Huck Finn is based on a boy named Tom Blankenship who Twain knew growing up in Hannibal. The book was banned by the public library in Concord, Massachusetts over its language and low morals. Many called the book racist and removed it from school reading lists.

In 1891, Twain closed up his house, which he and his family had lived in since 1874. This house was designed by architect Edward Tuckerman Potter and built in the Victoria Gothic style. While living in this house, Twain wrote, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “The Prince and the Pauper,” “A Tramp Abroad,” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

Although Mark Twain doesn’t have any living direct descendants, the house located on 351 Farmington Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut is very much alive and thriving in his memory.

From the ADG Jobsite

One of our favorite chandelier projects from New York…


by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Capitol Records Los Angeles Historic Landmark

Capitol Records Building Remains a Star

It has been scientifically proven that music has a profound effect on the brain. Many of us non-scientific types just feel music is magic. Listening to an old song can bring up so many memories or transport you to an exact location, and even go as far as inviting who you were with for the full experience. That is the majesty of music, so it should come as no surprise that the Capitol Records Building would be among our choices for this list.

The Capitol Records Building, also known as the Capitol Records Tower, is located at 1750 Vine Street in Los Angeles. It is right smack in the middle of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It can be seen from the ever so famous corner of Hollywood and Vine.

The building was based on the designs using the graduate school drawings of Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket Associates. In 1955, the British company EMI purchased Capitol Records, and soon thereafter the construction began. The Capitol Records Building was completely constructed in 1956.

The Googie-style building was designed to resemble a stack of records, standing 13 stories high. Located approximately 30 feet underground, there are echo chambers, which were designed by the legendary guitarist Les Paul.

The building also has a rooftop spire that looks like a record needle from an old school phonograph, and on top of that needle is a red light that blinks continuously the word “Hollywood” in Morse code. Leila Morse, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse, had the honors of originally flipping on the switch. 

Capitol Records was founded in 1942 by Johnny Mercer. Just about every legendary musical artist recorded their music in the studio inside the Capitol Records Building, with Frank Sinatra being the first. On the south wall of the building, there is a mural titled “Hollywood Jazz: 1945-1972” by artist Richard Wyatt. On every Christmas since 1958, there has been a Christmas tree on top of the building.

On November 15th 2006, the building was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.  

All the musical artists involved in the creation of this iconic building have passed on, but one can’t help wonder if perhaps posthumously they still run the place. 

From the Factory Floor

Our artisans hard at work …

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG