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Art Deco L.A.

from The SpyGlass Blog at LA Magazine

Art Deco Walking Tours

deco large
From Josefa Corpuz:

Like the Los Angeles of our dreams, the art deco movement from the ’20s and ’30s is elegant, eclectic, glamorous, and forward-looking. The L.A. Conservancy (a nonprofit organization that works to preserve historic architecture in Los Angeles County – or, more succinctly, “We preserve history in the age of McMansions”) gives walking tours of downtown’s Art Deco gems.

deco mediumOur docent, David Peake, has been a Conservancy member for 12 years and a tour guide for six. He was converted to the cause one hot, smoggy day back in 1992, when the chords of a pipe organ and the “shabby glamour” of the unrestored Orpheum Theatre combined to produce a historical headrush. “I’m not a particularly religious man,” Peake said, “but I thought – this is my cathedral.”

Many art deco buildings downtown can inspire similar awe. The Title Guarantee & Trust Building has a stylized Gothic tower, complete with gargoyle-like waterspouts; the Eastern Columbia Building on Broadway is a blue-and-green “peacock” of a building that glints, gemlike, in the sun.

Two blocks down on Olive Street is the Oviatt Building, once a high-class haberdashery and the home of storeowner James Oviatt. Inspired by the 1925 Paris Exposition, where art deco began, Oviatt decorated his building with French textiles, French marble, French glass (over 30 tons of it), and even French sand for the “beach” on his penthouse sunbathing deck.

[ click to read full blog at LAmag.com ]

Posted on August 18, 2008 by Editor

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