Chicago’s Carbide and Carbon Building

Carbon and Carbide Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbon and Carbide Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier
Carbide and Carbon Building, Chicago, Photo Romi Cortier

Chicago’s Carbide and Carbon Building is an extraordinary example of 1920’s Art Deco. I remember seeing this gorgeous building on my last visit to Chicago in 2004, but strangely enough,  I couldn’t remember going inside of it. As it turns out, the building underwent over $106 Million worth of  renovations and updates from 2001 – 2004  and was closed to the public during that time.  No wonder my UCLA art history  teacher who was hosting our trip didn’t take us inside. But you know me, if I see a stunner like this one, I’ll do my best to step inside and experience the glory of a by gone era.

One of the things that I love about the renovations done by the Hard Rock Hotel, is that their signage doesn’t interfere with the striking polished black marble exterior on the lower portion of the building. The upper portion of the building is dark green terra cotta, not black as I’d originally thought. I’d assumed this building was like LA’s very rare gold and black terra cotta art deco buildings, however I was wrong. And can you believe the gold color on the tower is 24k gold.  Even though it’s only one five-thousandths of an inch thick, it’s actual gold.  Elegant bronze trim extends from the tip of the spire to the ground, leading some to believe  that the building was built to look like a champagne bottle.

The entrance at 230 N. Michigan Avenue sports a bronze grill over the massive doorway, something that beckons any seasoned deco enthusiast to enter. And once you’ve stepped  inside the lobby, the exquisite deco elevator doors will practically take your breath away, They’re every bit as beautiful as the ones at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

The Carbide and Carbon Company developed the first dry cell battery  and commissioned the Burnham Brothers to create their home base, which was completed in 1929. There were plans for a sister building, however, the stock market crash of 1929 put an end to that.  Zoning laws in 1923 limited the height of skyscrapers, allowing for towers as long as they didn’t take up more than one quarter of the lot size. Therefore, this building has a 23 story base and a 15 story tower. There’s something so elegant about the proportions of buildings from the 20’a and 30’s.  They’re more human in scale and have so easily stood the test of time. Hooray for the Hard Rock Hotel for reinvesting in this gem of a building and bringing it up to date.

If you’d like to book a room at the Chicago Hard Rock Hotel, click HERE. 

FIDM Museum & Galleries Emmy Nominated Costumes 2016

FIDM Museum, Scream Queens, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Scream Queens, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, Defiance, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Defiance, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM, Marvel: Agent Carter, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Marvel: Agent Carter, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Game of Thrones, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, Outlander, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Outlander, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, Vinyl, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Vinyl, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, Jane the Virgin, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Jane the Virgin, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, American Horror Story, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, American Horror Story, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Empire, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Empire, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries , Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Photo Romi Cortier

FIDM Museum & Galleries recently hosted their 10th annual “Art of Television Costume Design” opening reception. The kick off event was to  celebrate the Emmy nominated Costume Designers of 2016, with over 100 costumes from 23 television shows in a variety of genres.

I have to admit that I’d heard of FIDM for years, but had never actually been to their college in downtown Los Angeles. Fortunately a  longtime client of salon manicurist Lisa Preciado happens to head up this annual event. Therefore, she graciously extended an invitation to me when I heard them discussing the upcoming event. Having recently seen LACMA’s Reigning Men exhibit, I was more than intrigued about the possibility of seeing costumes from some of my favorite tv shows. The evening was so exciting and certainly didn’t disappoint. And if you’ve never seen an actual Emmy statue in person, this is your chance.

FIDM Museum & Galleries, Emmy Statue, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Emmy Statue, Photo Romi Cortier

This current exhibit is free to the public, and will be on display until October 15, 2016. Gallery hours are from 10am – 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday.  Location: 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

Learn more about FIDM  HERE, or sign up for future events.

After seeing the costumes in person, it will make it that much more exciting to watch the Emmy’s live on September 18, 2016.

FIDM Museum & Galleries, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Photo Romi Cortier
FIDM event: Lori, Mathew Hancock, Lisa Preciado, Romi Cortier
FIDM event: Lori, Mathew Hancock, Lisa Preciado, Romi Cortier

Seven Magic Mountains near Las Vegas

Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Rom Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Rom Cortier
Sven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Sven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Romi Cortier at Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo by Tami
Romi Cortier at Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo by Tami
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier

Seven Magic Mountains makes me think of Stonehenge on acid, or psychedelic rocks as interpreted by Pop Artist Peter Max. Alas, it’s internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.

This two year installation which opened in May of this year, can easily be seen from your car while whizzing by on  Interstate 15,  about 10 miles  south of Las Vegas. Initially you might think you’re seeing neon colored balloons, however, as you near the parking lot and exit your car, something exciting starts to happen. The striking colors juxtaposed against the beige of the desert begin to feel cool, as in cold, despite the 100 plus degree temperature. Maybe it’s because they remind us of tubs of ice cream seen behind class at the local CVS or Baskin Robbins… there’s certainly something  pavlovian happening here.

In total there are seven towers made up of 33 limestone boulders.  The public art installation cost 3.5 million dollars to bring to life, including fees for permits, fabrication costs, road improvements, staff and studio travel over the 5 year timeline it took to bring this project to life, as well as for land restoration once the exhibit closes in May of 2018.

I’ve never been to burning man, however, for the short time I spent moving around this installation, I felt as if I might be getting a sense of what burning man is like: hip, cool, alternative, unexpected.  Experiencing temporary art thrust into a dry desert environment is quite exciting and invigorating. I actually visited this site twice in one day, as I wanted to see it while the sun was setting. Both times there were tons of people milling about, and the kids seemed the most excited by the bold colors. That said, it is the desert, so watch where you walk if you choose to  visit this site. Rattlesnakes are a real possibility since this is their native habitat. They won’t care if you you’re busy taking your  best art selfie to date. (yes, that’s a thing now) My sis yelled at me to stay on ‘the path’, but I had to get that long shot of all seven stones lined up side by side.  I’d love to revisit this installation in a year to see what the scorching desert sun has done to these saturated colors, or how they might look against a backdrop of white winter snow. If you’re on instagram, search #7magicmountains to see the latest and greatest of the seasonal shots taken around the spectacularly fun exhibit.

Art Selfie, Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier
Art Selfie, Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada, Photo Romi Cortier

You can learn more about artist Ugo Rondinone HERE

The video below will show you how they stacked these 40,000 pound boulders…  the first earth work installation created in over 40 years.

 

Inside the How House, by Architect R.M. Schindler

How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier

I walked into R. M. Schindler’s How House cold, knowing absolutely nothing about it.  An hour later I left feeling  like a Buddhist monk…  zen, grounded, tranquil and full of love. It’s rare to experience this sort of transformation while moving through a home.

A decade earlier at the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois I had a similar experience and it literally brought me to tears. It was designed by Mies van der Rohe in the late 40’s,  and is an iconic masterpiece of the International Style of architecture,  just as this home is. The International Style began in the late 1920’s and continued into the early 1980’s. Hallmarks of this design movement include: rectilinear forms, open interior spaces, a visually weightless quality engendered by the use of cantilever construction, and light, taut plane surfaces stripped of applied ornamentation and decoration. I know that’s a mouthful for non architectural enthusiasts, but it helps give words to the ‘visual rhythm’  that a trained eye can identify.

When I first stood outside this home, I thought of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, one of his most famous homes with overlapping horizontal and vertical planes. As it turns out,  Schindler worked with Wright for nearly a decade on several of his most significant residences. One of the aspects of this home that really moved me, was the use of poured concrete walls with horizontal bands. As you can clearly see, that ‘banding’ theme was also applied to  the exterior and interior woodwork of the home, as well as the windows and fireplace.

While conversing with Brian Linder, AIA, in the living room of the home, I learned  that the home had been meticulously restored by Michael LaFetra in 2007.  The original redwood wall panels were replaced by retrieving logs from the bottom of the riverbed where the original trees for the wood had been milled. How’s that for going the extra distance to keep the home as original as possible. You can read more about LaFetra’s restoration by following this link: Michael LaFetra.

Lastly, when I toured this home on Sunday July 10th, I had no idea that it was the first ever open house to the public. I’m so glad I opened my email from The Value of Architecture… it was gift from the heavens for those of us obsessed with important architectural gems like this.

See more photos, as well as the MLS listing,  HERE

How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
How House, R.M. Schindler, Architect, Silver Lake, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier

 

Salvador Dali on view in Beverly Hills

Dali's Persistence of Memory, Beverly Hills, Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Persistence of Memory, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Triumphant Elephant, Beverly Hills, Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Triumphant Elephant, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Dance of Time II, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Dance of Time II, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Surrealist Piano, Beverly Hills, Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Surrealist Piano, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Dance of Time I, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Dance of Time I, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Unicorn, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Unicorn, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali's Saint George and the Dragon, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Dali’s Saint George and the Dragon, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Salvador Dali, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier
Salvador Dali, Beverly Hills, Ca., Photo Romi Cortier

The sculptures of Salvador Dali are on view in Beverly Hills at Two Rodeo Drive. Yes they’re for sale, but that certainly won’t stop you from walking around them, taking selfies with them, photographing them, and simply enjoying them as public art.

In total there are 12 iconic Salvador Dali Sculptures on display, which have been  presented by Two Rodeo Drive and Galerie Michael located at 224 N. Rodeo Drive  in Beverly Hills. There are additional smaller  sculptures for sale inside Galerie Michael, as well as Dali paintings, lithographs and etchings. One of the things I really like about the presentation of this art, are the placards attached to each piece giving you an overview of what you’re looking at. There are no prices attached to the outdoor pieces, however the smaller works inside the gallery are priced in the tens of thousands, such as $25,000 and up. Therefore, I’m guessing the large exterior works have to be priced in the hundreds of thousands. Whatever the case, with any art that is sold, a percentage of that sale will benefit Operation Smile, an international non-profit. If you’re interested in making a donation to them directly, follow this link: Donate

Dali’s full name is quite a mouthful: Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech, Marques do Dali de Pubol. Whew!  Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, on May 11, 1904, he lived to be 84, passing on January 23, 1989. The Surrealist artist had an expansive repertoire including film, sculpture, and photography, as well as works in the mediums mentioned above.

Whether you’re a huge fan, or just looking for something fun to do with friends on a leisurely weekend, check out these large scale works which are on view until September 23, 2016.

Galerie Michael

A Design Diary by Romi Cortier