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Special Fall Home Design Issue | Conservation

Holding pattern

September 28, 2003|Barbara Thornburg | Barbara Thornburg is senior home design editor for the magazine.

Collector and businessman Saul E. Levi's two-bedroom Wilshire corridor condominium is chockablock with art. His eclectic, highly personalized collections range from sculptures by Robert Graham and aquatints by Pablo Picasso to prints by Francis Bacon and more than 350 contemporary art teapots, at last count. One of his most intriguing collections is the 300-plus walking sticks he has found on travels around the world. Made of various materials such as glass, cinnabar, bone, silver and gold, some of the walking sticks feature hidden swords, knives and even a gun. To protect them, Levi devised seven plexiglass stands with holes on the top and grooves on a lower shelf "to keep them from knocking into one another."

Another passion is his extensive collection of ceramics and glass. Works by noted artists Dale Chihuly and William Morris are perched atop custom 36-inch-high Lucite pedestals stationed in front of windows. "When the shades are up and I look at them from across the room, they appear to float," he says. For pieces with backs as dramatic as the fronts, Levi employs swivel-top pedestals for 360-degree viewing. To adhere the objects to display bases, Levi uses Crystalline Clear Museum Wax or Bard's Tacky Wax rather than permanent museum mounts.

"I like to move the pieces around too much. All I have to do with the wax is twist the piece and it lifts off. Hopefully, in a small earthquake it's enough to keep them from walking off their pedestals."

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Resource Guide

Custom Lucite pedestals and cane stands available at Plastic Mart, West Los Angeles, (310) 268-1404. Joe Ray, art installer, (310) 261-9202.

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