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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


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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…

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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

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

 

Paul Williams Lax Architecture

Paul Williams and Los Angeles Architecture

When exploring the greater Los Angeles area, some of the most remarkable architecture was from the creative vision of architect Paul Williams. He was a major contributor to the architectural landscape of the city that lives on today.

Paul Williams was a master of many styles, from English Tudor to Spanish Colonial and the casual California ranch style. He dedicated his work to enhancing people’s lives by designing architecture with the local climate and light in mind. A-listers such as Denzel Washington and Ellen DeGeneres have lived in Williams’ homes. Hotel heir Barron Hilton currently lives in a distinct Bel Air home, which Williams and interior design partner Harriet Shellenberger originally designed for businessman Jacob “Jay” Paley. The Paley Residence became widely known for its magnificent pool, featuring sandy beach areas, beautiful imported mosaic tile work and an overall emphasis on outdoor living spaces reflective of a Southern California lifestyle. Even though he quickly became known as the architect to the stars, he was also involved in the conceptual design and redesign of many iconic L.A. landmarks such as the LAX Theme Building, the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building, the Shrine Auditorium, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he became the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and over the course of his lifetime participated in nearly 3,000 projects. In December 2016, Williams was posthumously awarded the 2017 AIA Gold Medal. He was the first African-American architect to receive the prestigious honor.

The iconic work of Paul Williams cannot be understated, and proper respect must be paid to his innovation and creativity. Janna Ireland just authored a fine narrative pictorial in Curbed Los Angeles on the work of Paul Williams. It is a great narrative of the life and times of Paul Williams, accompanied by a pictorial history she has documented over the past three years.

From the ADG Jobsite  

The Garden lantern…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Robert Winter Architecture

Robert Winter, The Godfather of LA Architecture Passes

“Robert Winter was in the last of a group who lived and breathed the built world of Los Angeles, the people who experienced the development of midcentury modern architecture before there was a term for it.”

Paddy Calistro, Publisher Angel City Press

Robert Winter, the most renowned Los Angeles architectural historian and the Arthur G. Coons Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, at Occidental College, Los Angeles passed at the age of 94. His writings have shined a light on the region’s architectural treasures and helped define the city’s built environment. Lovingly known throughout the architectural industry as “Bungalow Bob,” he was particularly known for his contributions to the history of the California branch of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Winter was present at the creation of the Craftsman Revival in the early 1970s — a revival that, as he has famously noted, has gone on far longer than the relatively short-lived Craftsman period itself.

He was born in Indianapolis in 1924 and attended Dartmouth University and Johns Hopkins before accepting positions at UCLA and Occidental College, where he taught for more than three decades. Robert Winter was eagerly known for his architectural writing, authoring or co-authoring numerous publications over the years. His most recognized work was his collaboration with David Gebhard, titled An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, which became a ‘must-own’ reference guide for architects and architectural enthusiasts since the first editions in 1965.

Robert Winter lived in The Batchelder House, which is a historic home built in 1910 and located in Pasadena. It is known as an important center of Pasadena cultural life and was designed and built by Ernest A. Batchelder, a prominent leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  The house is a large bungalow style home, with the woodsy design elements of a Swiss chalet.

From the ADG Jobsite

Install in progress at an auto museum in Ohio…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG

 

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A USC Architectural ‘Whodunit’

Most folks love a good mystery! A twisting, turning plot that gets more complicated at every turn. Details become more blurred and facts become elusive in the best mystery. Now, the plot thickens around a story that involves USC, Samuel and Harriet Freeman and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler.

Samuel and Harriet Freeman commissioned Wright to design their home in the Hollywood Hills into an epic showplace for them. Wright did just that! He designed a breathtaking home and ringed the living room with tall windows that provided stunning views of Highland Avenue and the surrounding hills. Among the furnishings he designed for the home were six-foot tall iron lamps. Later, Schindler added his touches to the residence with his own unique furnishings. Samuel died in 1981 and Harriet passed in 1986. Their luxurious home and furnishings were left to the USC School of Architecture, trusting they would treasure the property as a site for meetings, classes and historic preservation.  Ah, the best-laid plans!

Over the years, USC School of Architecture quickly found out the true expense of maintaining and preserving this treasure and its contents. In 1994, the home was severely damaged in the Northridge Earthquake. It took over eight years to secure $1 million dollars from FEMA for the restoration work. In 2000, USC secured a warehouse with a large open space and one lockable storage room. The contents of the home were moved into storage and the lamps and sofa were locked into the smaller storage space. For 10 years, the contents sat in storage, sometimes glimpsed by USC faculty, staff and students. The plot thickens!

In 2012, USC staffers noticed the lamps and sofa missing. There was only one key in existence and no signs of forced entry or vandalism. Despite the obvious value of the items taken, no one at USC filed a report with campus police, LAPD or the university’s insurance carriers. Talk of the theft circulated among some at the architecture school, but few outsiders had any knowledge. Ultimately, someone with some intimate knowledge of the theft sent an anonymous email to the LA Times tipping them off. The Times worked with USC on the information and the school found enough validity in the information to finally formally report and investigate the crime. USC Police reported the incident to the LAPD in mid-January for investigation.

Now that the investigation is in the appropriate hands, this incident has created a great deal of concern for USC, the USC School of Architecture and the architecture community at large. The value of the missing items is considerable and classify this incident as a felony. It is the hope of most professionals that the items are recovered and returned to a restored property that pays respect to Samuel and Harriet Freeman, along with Wright and Schindler. The question remains — Whodunit?

From the ADG Factory Floor

 Customized LED color change lens installed into ring pendant…

Adg Lighting Factory 

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting