Friday, January 14, 2011

VPF - Interiors

Denny's Coffee Shop, 1970

Like many people, I've always been attracted to mid-20th century coffee shop design, especially the interiors. They have large windows so you can see the warm and inviting atmosphere inside. This type of architecture was designed to allure people sitting in traffic. Coffee shops of the late1940's to the 1970's usually exhibited "theme" architecture known as "Googie," after the premier coffee shop space-age design. You can read about the origins of this type of architecture here.
I came across some coffee shop interiors on Facebook, highlighted in the group, "Photos from Mid -Century Modern and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s, and '80s." I was immediately captivated by the bright and cheerful interiors. The early coffee shops remind of Tomorrow Land at Disneyland!

International House of Pancakes, 1970

The architecture firm of Armet and Davis desgined many of these space-age style coffee shops in Los Angeles, including Denny's and Pann's, featured here.

Pann's Coffee Shop, 2010

I'm not sure who was responsible for the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) A-Frame design, but I love it! Johnnie's Broiler in Downey, now a Bob's Big Boy was originally designed by Paul B. Clayton.

Bob's Big Boy, Downey, 2010

Have a wonderful weekend. Stop by a coffee shop if you have the chance!

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9 Comments:

At 8:22 AM PST, Blogger gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

Love these, I have a postcard collection of 60's & 70's restaurant interiors. There's nothing quite like quilted naugahyde in orange, gold or avocado, is there? Not to mention the turquoise of HoJos!

 
At 12:55 PM PST, Blogger Lisa R-R said...

Great photos, very mouth-watering!
If you ever visit Toronto, please check out the 1930s interior of the 24-hour Lakeview. It's hopping at any hour.
I especially like the designs in the black/white tile floor with a unique pattern for each booth/stool - I guess the original owners had a system to send out the orders to the tables using the black square pattern.

 
At 12:03 AM PST, Anonymous Trish said...

My favorite was Pic's(sp?) on Santa Monica Blvd I believe just above Bundy, now long gone...

I grew up going there, but it has been a long time and I could be off a little..

I love googie.

 
At 4:22 PM PST, Blogger Dale said...

In the top photo of Dennys--the interior color scheme and graphics were from my fathers company--Alfred M Gordon Designs, Inc. He did the design--not Armet and Davis--although he worked from their architectural drawings. He created the hot pink and orange color schemes and had his production facility make the dimension wall graphics, divider screens and light fixtures. He did them for years for Dennys as well as a majority of the coffee shops and the up coming fast food restaurants.

 
At 5:25 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dale, Can you tell me more about your father? I study Armet & Davis. Thanks.
Chris
nixols @ yahoo.com

 
At 3:08 PM PDT, Blogger Dale said...

HI Chris: I just saw your note on the website on coffee shop interiors. You can email me or feel free to call me with questions. My dad—Alfred M Gordon—was one of the pioneer designers of interior graphics in the early 1960’s for the then emerging coffee shops and fast food companies. He moved the family to California in 1958 and got a design job with Heath and Co—the top sign company in LA at the time—rising up to design director. He also moonlighted as an illustrator for architects—creating renderings for their architectural coffee shop projects that they used to sell the project to the client. (You can see some of his renderings on the Armet and Davis website) Armet and Davis was one of his best customers. We spent several summers in the 1960’s going to the Colorado river with Eldon Davis and his family where I learned to water ski. About 1962 –my dad left Heath and Co to go on his own as a designer and fabricator—as he saw that there were no companies around that could provide the interior graphics that were designed in his renderings. He began with Denny’s and Harold Butler—then added Bobs Big Boy , Del Taco and several other companies that were still in their infancy just getting started in the emerging fast food industry. By the early 1970’s his company was in a 40,000 sq ft facility cranking out décor packages for McDonalds, Dennys, Del Taco, Taco Bell, Bob’s Big Boy, Norms, A & W Rootbeer, Hardee’s, and other smaller chain operations and custom restaurants. In the 1980’s he even did the design and fabrication for about 25 sites a year for McDonald’s in Japan. The Japanese franchisee wanted his sites to look like “American” designs.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions. I grew up with my dad’s company and met most of his customers who were also pioneers in the then emerging fast food industry.

Thanks, Dale Gordon

 
At 1:41 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dale, Wow! Great info. I'd love to chat more but don't know how to reach you. Can you email me your contact info? Thanks a lot. Chris

 
At 7:51 AM PST, Blogger Rick W said...

I worked for AMG (Alfred M Gordon Designs) form 1972 until 1977 as a fabricator...building all the different creative elements that Al but into his designs...it was one of the best working experiences I've ever had...and I think of it often....I new Dale when and his uncle Dan...we had a great time working there and did some beautiful work...Rick W.

 
At 10:35 PM PDT, Blogger Unknown said...

I also worked at Alfred M. Gordon Designs (in the lighting and resin casting departments) from 1972 through 1975. I loved the Denny's designs, although I didn't fully appreciate the Googie style until years later. There was a lot of talented people working there. Scott E.

 

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