Monday, June 01, 2015

DTLA Deco Details

Saturday Tour Group

On Saturday I decided to take an L.A. Conservancy Downtown Walking Tour. I chose the Art Deco Tour. During the 1920's and 1930's, this style was known as Moderne. The term "Art Deco" became popular in the 1960's. 
From the L.A. Conservancy brochure on Art Deco:  "Showcased at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne, the Moderne style appeared primarily in furniture, jewelry and interior design, not architecture. However, when Moderne arrived in America, the clean lines and machine-centric ethos of the style proved a perfect match for the design aesthetics of ever-taller skyscrapers... Design elements such as prominent piers and recessed windows gave structures a strong vertical emphasis that seemed to reach for the skies."
The green Sun Realty Building (LA Jewelry Center) next to the William Fox Bldg., left (Western Jewelry Mart)

Nine of us, led by our guide, Lily, walked from Pershing Square to view about 12 different buildings in the Moderne or Art Deco style. We viewed the Title Guarantee Building, The SoCal Edison Building (One Bunker Hill), the L.A. Central Library, the Pacmutual Center, the Oviatt Building, William Fox Building (Western Jewelry Mart), Sun Realty (L.A. Jewelry Center), Harris & Frank Building (Wholesale Jewelry Mart), The Garfield Building, the Ninth & Broadway Building and the jewel of them all, The Eastern Columbia Building.
SoCal Edison Building

We were lucky to be able to go inside the lobby at the Southern California Edison Building. Every detail of this building is exquisitely detailed. There are suns, sun-bolts and symbols of energy all over the place.

The lobby of this building is practically all marble.  It's positively gorgeous!

We weren't allowed entry into many of the buildings.  The Title Guarantee Building is now loft-style apartments. I'm sure the residents wouldn't want us staring at their ceilings and taking photos!

Title Guarantee Building
The L.A. Central Library is another example of this style. Again, we walked around the perimeter. The Library gives its own interior tours...definitely worth taking.
L.A. Central Library
They were setting up for a wedding at Cicada, the James Oviatt Building, so we could not enter.  However, we were able to see the decorative elevators, inside and out! The doors are covered in Lalique glass!
I noticed some "modern" additions to a few buildings.
A former Thrifty Drug Store entrance to a Deco building

1960s stone fills in this window in a Beaux Arts building

The most beautiful building on our tour was the Eastern Columbia Building.  It was originally built as a department store in 1930. It is a luxury condominium building now with a few famous residents. At night the Eastern Columbia is lit up so the gold in the terra cotta tile glows. The clock tower can be seen from miles away.
Covered Entrance, Eastern Columbia Building

You really have to see these buildings in person. Photographs do not do them justice. The architectural details are amazing.
I enjoyed myself on the tour. I met some lovely people and was thrilled with the historic information imparted by our L.A. Conservancy docent, Lily.  It really is worth the effort to sign up for one of these tours and learn more about the history of our City!

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At 6:57 AM PDT, Blogger Lynn said...

I'm going to take this tour!

At 7:38 AM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

It's an excellent walking tour, Lynn. There are many other tours available through the L.A. Conservancy too. Check out their website, linked in this blog-post!

Ellen B.


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