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L.A. Deco

Sleek and Sexy, the City's Many Art Deco Buildings Are Monuments to Glamour

March 08, 1998

The fact that it was called into prominence at an exhibit in France--the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, to be exact--is of no matter. Art Deco is quintessentially L.A. Clean yet glamorous, its lines blur geometry and sensuality into a machine-age sexiness perfect for a city built on dust and steel and soft-focus imagination. Throw in a few nicely phallic towers and a real appreciation for gold and black tile--voila--the perfect backdrop for slouch-shouldered, cigarette-holdered starlets accompanied by men in white ties and a whippet or two.

During the late '20s through the early '40s, Art Deco, sliding now and then toward Moderne, bloomed along the famous streets--Wilshire, Broadway, Fairfax--in vibrant blues and pinks and golds. While some of the finest examples are gone--the Richfield Building was torn down in 1968 to make room for Arco Plaza--many remain, some a bit shabby perhaps, but still singing.

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