When Los Angeles Architects and the Conservancy Modern Committee began working to preserve mid century buildings about 30 years ago, critics thought that a flat roofed houses or a Googie coffee shop like Johnie’s becoming a landmark was a joke. This was seen as a strange footnote that Los Angeles Architects would add this to architectural history. This appealed to an unconventional audience.
As of today, Los Angeles Architects seems to have their own version of what ModCom is, and their ongoing rediscovery and resurrection of modern design has been lasting longer than the real thing. An anniversary party at the concrete brutalist Pasadena Presbyterian church took place. Everyone and anyone could of meet original Los Angeles Architects who have won the Modern Master award. These Los Angeles Architects are a group of passionate volunteers that work to save their buildings, not only that but they got to see rare photos and video of your favorite 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s landmarks.
The vivaciously alluring Hollywood Regency style, containing massive doors, oversized lamps, and button tufted interiors, this was perfected by designer John Elgin Woolf and you can view this at a new exhibit at the Palos Verdes Art Center. Drawings, photographs and designs from 1940-1980 are exploring the work of this “architect to the stars.”
Also, there are new documentaries that are exploring artists lives who have made their name in the Inland Empire when the majority of the land was orange groves. Los Angeles Architects John Svenson and Millard Sheets spent decades developing an artistic community that ultimately made Claremont a hub of Mid-20th century design. If ever been to a Chase bank with white marble, you’ve been introduced to the work of Millard Sheets (1907-1989). The film Design For Modern Living showed how Millard Sheets paintings, mosaic, and stained glass designs have an influence on generations of artists in the Pomona Valley. Some of his paintings are hanging in the homes of wealthy collectors, but his work with Home Savings (which is now Chase) turned uninteresting banks into a fascinating public art gallery which anyone can enjoy. John Svenson had been one of his collaborators on the banks and, at age 92, he continues to create smooth and beautiful modernist sculptures. There is a film about John Svenson called “For The Love of Wood” which is available on Vimeo/Youtube.com.
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