Architecture

Circles On The Point

The most hideous home in all of Los Angeles is situated at the most beautiful place in all of Los Angeles.  If you are eating or don't think you can handle extreme ugliness, please skip to the next post now.

The home, proudly named Circles On The Point, is at the top of Point Dume in Malibu.  It is completely painted prison-gray with architectural details like large-ass circles and ribbon winds, reminiscent of a 90's suburban business complex conveniently close to the highway.  

 I intentionally used a hexogon because eff this house.

I intentionally used a hexogon because eff this house.

I'm bringing this monstrosity up now because it is heavily featured in the third episode of Glow, when the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling go to a Hollywood party at their douchy producer's house.  

It's decorated like the west coast crash pad of Tom Hanks' character from Big, which probably is putting its best foot forward because at least there is candy.  

If you are thinking, these images are good, but I want more Circles On The Point, then you are in luck!  Amazon is developing a show called Jean-Claude Van Johnson, all about the tristesse of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a man doomed to spend his days in the ugliest home of all time.  I think it's the house's best work.  

And if your itch has not been scratched, thank you 1badgmc on Tripadvisor for posting:

I’ve wanted to visit Point Dume for years after seeing the 1994 movie Color of Night starring Bruce Willis and Scott Bakula. The house called Circles on the Point located just north of Point Dume at the corner of Cliffside and Birdview is featured prominently in the film. There are also scenes with the two stars riding bikes on the trails of Point Dume. While I enjoy the movie itself, the house’s architecture has always captured me. After finding the location of the house years ago, I looked more into the area around it and just wanted to visit that much more.
 The  trailer  is everything the 90s did right

The trailer is everything the 90s did right

American Gods

I truly enjoyed all eight episodes of American Gods, but the cherry on top was the last episodes where the characters decend on this lovely country estate.  

When we pull up to the entrance, which is charmingly on the side of the house, I was surprised by the architectural detail.  I had anticipated traditional architecture, so the  unexpected ogee arch shaped roof let's you know that this place is going to be magical.   

Genius Synagogue

Quick tip of the hat to this gorgeous synagogue featured in the show Genius about the young Albert Einstein.  We typically think of synagogues as less decorative spaces, but this one clearly is inspired by eastern orthodox Byzantine architecture.  You can see how the shape of the arches mimic the domes on Russian churches.  

YSL's BOJA lamps......?

For many years IKEA has sold a bamboo rattan egg-shaped table lamp called BOJA.  It always seems a little askew and has the stink of IKEA on it, so I was surprised when it popped up in the sets of Yves Saint Laurent (2014). 

 Yves Saint Laurent (2014) - The office off Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent Couture House, life partner of Yves, and junk lamp aficionado.

Yves Saint Laurent (2014) - The office off Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent Couture House, life partner of Yves, and junk lamp aficionado.

They're freakin' everywhere....

The movie isn't great, but outside of these lamps, the sets are pretty sumptuous.  So much so that I wondered if this was actually a classic lamp and IKEA just created a knock-off......but nothing on the internet corroborated that suspicion.

Lamps aside, shout out to this art nouveau restaurant:

If You See Something, Say Something

It is a family tradition to always point out giraffes, so I have to mention this painting in the movie, Wolf (1994), although I stopped watching the film soon ofter seeing this because of how completely aweful it was. 

But shout out to the Bradbury Building!  It's LA's second most beloved filming location.  Can you guess the first?

 Wolf (1994) - The shamnciest newspaper building I've ever seen

Wolf (1994) - The shamnciest newspaper building I've ever seen

Simplicity

I know my preferences tend towards the extravagant, but it is refreshing to be reminded that, sometimes, all you need is plain walls, glass, and nature to achieve perfection.

 Humans: Season 2, Episode 1 - A serene place where a tech billionaire can finance agonizing experiments on robots that have achieved consciousness.  

Humans: Season 2, Episode 1 - A serene place where a tech billionaire can finance agonizing experiments on robots that have achieved consciousness.  

American Horror Story: Window

If you know me, you know that I am always checking out people's windows.  I can't pass a window without objectifying it.  And the window in the new American Horror Story: Roanoke (Season 6) farmhouse is particularly eye-catching .  

After watching the first episode, I was convinced that the window was flipped (in a spooky way) when looking at if from the interior:

But then in episode two I was able to grab his shot, so the upside down one must be somewhere else in the house.  Haven't gotten my bearings in this set yet.

The Nice Guys crash a party

In the film, The Nice Guys (2016) (not recommending!), Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling crash a Porn King's party and it is a 70's delight. 

I thought this would be a Los Angeles location, but I was surprised to learn that this architectural novelty is in Atlanta, and owned by music producer Dallas Austin.  The house has infamously been rented to pop stars like Justin Bieber, Pink, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Monica, Lenny Kravitz, etc. It has been used in other films, like What To Expect When Your Expecting (can't say I remember it in that one). 

Check out Curbed Atlanta for many more images of the house.

It felt rude to write about such bonkers real estate without crediting the architect, but turns out the architect is a whole other story.....

Michael Czysy died this past May from cancer.  He was in his early 50s.  

After design school, his architecture career advanced swiftly, and he did projects like a W Hotel, homes for Lenny Kravitz and Cindy Crawford, etc.  But then, in his 40's, he decided he was done with architecture, and wanted to learn how to design racing motorcycles.  He was very successful.  His obituaries call him a Visionary Motorcycle Designer, and barely reference the architecture faze of his life. 

It's in Italy!

Back in June, Cinespia (an outdoor movie screening organization in Los Angeles), hosted a screening of To Catch A Thief (1955).  The film is famously shot on the French Riviera.  To advertise the event, they posted this picture of a seating arrangement and wrote that there would be a photo booth:

Is there anything more gorgeous?  Is there?  Even though this picture just scrolled by me, it creeped into my subconscious and inspired me to plan my own trip to the French Riviera (in three weeks!). 

Well, today on Conde Nast Traveler they posted a picture of the Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel in Positano, Italy:

 Photo: Dustin Cohen

Photo: Dustin Cohen

.....and wrote that they make "a perfectly simple burrata dish with zucchini, mint, and garlic", so obviously I had to investigate further.....and discovered that the bench is real!!!!!  And it isn't in France!  It's in Italy!

And seeing as I don't leave a stone unturned, this is the burrata (although a different preparation)!!!!

 Photo by Frank Prisinzano, who can clearly die happy because he has eaten an enormous amount of spectacular looking food http://frankprisinzano.tumblr.com/

Photo by Frank Prisinzano, who can clearly die happy because he has eaten an enormous amount of spectacular looking food http://frankprisinzano.tumblr.com/

So after dealing with a wicked case of travel envy, I decided to to dig around the internet to check out some Cinespia photo booth pics, and discovered that they didn't recreate this bench at all!  False Advertising!!!!! 

 Cinespia Photo Booth for To Catch A Thief

Cinespia Photo Booth for To Catch A Thief

France-lander

 Outlander: Season 2, Episode 3 - a place to pass the time. 

Outlander: Season 2, Episode 3 - a place to pass the time. 

The second season of Outlander is set in France, and it has been a significant decor upgrade.  In season one, we were lucky when a room didn't have a dirt floor.  Now every set is lavish beyond compare.  

If you study this alternate angle, and pay closer attention to the books, they look like they are wallpaper.  See how everything is so perfectly flush.  I had assumed this was a real library, but now I think it is a built set.  And if that's the case, I am deeply impressed.  

In a later episode we follow Claire from the first library, into a second one.  This one feels "real" because the books are more haphazard on the shelf, and show more depth. 

Gazing at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

My interest in House of Cards has been reinvigorated by the plot twists in season four.  This season, like last season, Frank Underwood is the President, so he and Claire still live in the White House.  Even though the sets are the same as last year, now I care enough to write about them.

Let's take a closer look at this sitting room:

 House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5 - A room that is symmetrical down to the horizon line in the art. 

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5 - A room that is symmetrical down to the horizon line in the art. 

 White House, West Side

White House, West Side

My first thought was, where is this room in the White House?  We have all seen pictures of the front and back of the White House, and have never seen a window of this shape. And secondly, why does it looks like Paris is outside?

Well, luckily the internet exists, and I was able to figure out that this is meant to be the west sitting room.  There is an identical window on the east side of the building.  

Now let's address the Parisian question:

The west sitting room faces a ginormous building called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (formerly known as the Old Executive Office Building), and it is breathtaking.

This building was built between 1871 and 1888, which is just a few years after Haussmann's architecture reinvented the look of Paris.  The building contains more presidential offices as well as the office of the Vice President. 

House of Cards is not filmed in the White House (am I blowing your mind?), so this view is recreated on a sound stage using a translight image of the Eisenhower Building.  This means a massive photograph of the building was printed, taking into account the viewer's perspective from the west sitting room, and hung outside the set.  

I'm not quite as lighting savvy, so I'm not sure if the translight needs to be swapped out for nighttime scenes, or if lighting an be rigged to accommodate different times of day.  

Curiosity satisfied, this should be the end of the post, but then I thought, what if I added the word "interior" to my google search of the Eisenhower Building, and HOLY HELL!!!!!!!

Per wiki: Much of the interior was designed by Richard von Ezdorf using fireproof cast-iron structural and decorative elements, including massive skylights above each of the major stairwells and doorknobs with cast patterns indicating which of the original three occupying departments (State, Navy, or War) occupied a particular space. 

 Indian Treaty Room

Indian Treaty Room

 East Rotunda

East Rotunda

In conclusion, I get why Claire would want to sit and look out the window. 

War & Peace & Palaces

War & Peace (2016), a BBC miniseries based on Tolstoy's novel, is one of the most stunningly beautiful things every transmitted through a television.  It is filmed in Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania - places that Western tourists rarely go due to tight visa restrictions and cultural differences - so I was unprepared for the epic scale of opulence.  These palaces (of which there are many) make Downton Abbey look like a Toll Brothers McMansion.  

Right off the bat, we are assaulted with beauty:

 The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia

Each room is decked out with gilding, textiles, feathers, tile, tchotchkes,....

Every shot is framed like a work of art.....

And even when there is no architectures or furniture in a shot, it is still a work of art.....

 Bruegel - Winter Landscape with Bird Trap (1565)

Bruegel - Winter Landscape with Bird Trap (1565)

 Hendrick Avercamp - Golf Players on the Ice (1625)

Hendrick Avercamp - Golf Players on the Ice (1625)

...but there is no shortage of architecture.  When the characters are overwhelmed with city life, there are country homes....

....but the country can grow so tiresome, so it's back to the city!

 Michael's Palace, now the Russian Museum, in St Petersburg

Michael's Palace, now the Russian Museum, in St Petersburg

And FINALLY someone pays a visit to a rich friend....

This is the Catherine Palace, located outside of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the summer residence of the Russian Tsars.  I know the above image makes it look ginormous........but this places is even bigger!  It loops around to form a massive courtyard. 

And, of course, what better place to go for a ball!

And if you are already slummin' it in the city, why not check out an intimate opera....

....and another ball!

It is impossible not to fall in love with something so beautiful, so don't blame Natasha for falling for an incest-loving cad.  Looks matter. 

Art Nouveau Progressives

The Danish Girl (2015), a film about a transgender pioneer, is stunning from top to bottom, beginning to end, but what interests me is how architecture is used to represent the mindset of characters.  Just as it is commonplace to have villains living in modern architecture, in The Danish Girl, the most progressive Parisian thinkers surround themselves in Art Nouveau.  This art style was most popular between 1890 and 1910, making sense for The Danish Girl timeline, which takes places in the 1920's.  

The first time we see Art Nouveau is when Gerda Wegener (the wife) visits her husband's childhood friend, thinking he could be an ally in a murky trans-world.  Well, you can tell by his entryway that she was right!

She walks through his Art Nouveau door, into his Art Nouveau office, with his Art Nouveau furnishing, to beholds his sexy progressive thinking face. 

And this is the dumbstruck face I would make if I was bombarded with this much architectural beauty, only to find that the owner was cut from marble.  

Next thing Gerda knows, he is taking her to an Art Nouveau cafe.....

...and an Art Nouveau party...

....but she is still having a hard time with the whole trans thing, so she gets emotional and goes back to his place.  Luckily she is able to have a good sit in his Art Nouveau stairwell. 

Finally he recommends a progressive minded doctor who is not dismissive of Gerda's husbands cross dressing.  The couple meets the doctor at a cafe, of sorts.  The scene plays like it is in another location, but it is clearly filmed in Sexy Man's house.  

Ex Machina sets

So you should have already seen Ex Machina because it is great and everyone has been telling you to, but if you haven't this is what you would be missing:

 LIVING ROOM BUILT INTO A ROCK WALL!!!

LIVING ROOM BUILT INTO A ROCK WALL!!!

 NATURE!

NATURE!

The film takes place in a secluded modern mansion, and its expansive finished basement.  From a set design perspective, what is most interesting is how the basement sets (most likely filmed on a sound stage) tie into the upper home.  

The basement level has atriums that mirror the nature in the upper level.  They are lit to look like sunshine coming down a shaft, so it helps you orient yourself in the space.  

Divergent Architecture for Brains

 Divergent - Place were the "brains" work.

Divergent - Place were the "brains" work.

Loved seeing the new Joe and Rika Manueto Library, at The University of Chicago, featured in Divergent.  Back when I went to school there, it was just a patch of lawn next to the Regenstein Library (that concrete building).  

There was a persistent rumor that the Regenstein was designed with those long thing windows because the benefactor invented the plastic window in envelopes.  If you knew how dorky U of C is, it would make total sense that this was one of the hottest rumors on campus.  

A Despot's Palace

 The Dictator (20120 - Home of a North African idiot man

The Dictator (20120 - Home of a North African idiot man

I finally watched Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, and thoroughly enjoyed it (despite all the body humor).  In it he plays a North-African-oil-controlling-child-like-psychopath, and of course an absolute ruler deserves an absolutely over the top palace.  

 Tyrant (2014) - Home of a Middle Easter dynasty 

Tyrant (2014) - Home of a Middle Easter dynasty 

However, the first shot of his palace, looks remarkably similar to the first shot of the palace in FX's Tyrant.  This got me thinking:  Are these structures representative of the homes of Mid-East/African rulers, or are they representative of what we collectively assume they look like?  Are these images helping us get a clearer picture of life on the other side of the world, or cementing an outlandish image in our collective conscience?

 Aladdin (1992) - Home of the adorable Sultan of Agrabah

Aladdin (1992) - Home of the adorable Sultan of Agrabah

Los Angeles Real Estate

I recently lost a few hours of my life looking at Los Angeles real estate listings and dreaming of the day when/if I could afford something.  I was on Trulia.com (addictive!) when I stumbled on this outdoor space:

  2 bed/2bath home  in Eagle Rock/Highland Park for half a mill

2 bed/2bath home in Eagle Rock/Highland Park for half a mill

This is how it connects with the house:

Screen-Shot-2013-11-02-at-9.11.40-AM.png

And better yet, this home linked me with a truly mouth watering real estate blog focusing on my neighborhood: TakeSunset.com

It's the kind of blog that makes you feel like this home is just within your reach:

 

  Los Feliz 3 Bed/2 Bath  for a cool million

Los Feliz 3 Bed/2 Bath for a cool million

or this one:

I'm ready to buy a castle

Do you remember way back when I posted about the Worst Rooms in New York City.  Well now feast your eyes on this BuzzFeed article that shows the castle you could buy for the same price as a NYC apartment.  Here is a taste (and I will be plagiarizing):

   PRICE: $1,621,200    This 13,993-square-foot, 6-bedroom castle sits on 24 acres of land overlooking the countryside of Midi Pyrenees. Features include a large entrance hall opening to the courtyard, salon with a fireplace, grand staircase, elevator, large dining   room with fireplace, two kitchens, a bedroom wing with a hall onto the courtyard, study rooms in the towers, two garages, and access to the chapel and east wing.

PRICE: $1,621,200

This 13,993-square-foot, 6-bedroom castle sits on 24 acres of land overlooking the countryside of Midi Pyrenees. Features include a large entrance hall opening to the courtyard, salon with a fireplace, grand staircase, elevator, large dining

room with fireplace, two kitchens, a bedroom wing with a hall onto the courtyard, study rooms in the towers, two garages, and access to the chapel and east wing.

  PRICE: $1,650,00   Here’s a 1-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,200-square-foot apartment on East 30th Street. It’s conveniently located near nothing interesting.

PRICE: $1,650,00

Here’s a 1-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,200-square-foot apartment on East 30th Street. It’s conveniently located near nothing interesting.

  PRICE: $3,782,800   This 12-bedroom, 6-bathroom, 12,916-square-foot castle is like a fairy tale come true. With over 42 acres of land, a guesthouse, and a beautiful view of Touraine, France, you’ll have no issues entertaining friends   

PRICE: $3,782,800

This 12-bedroom, 6-bathroom, 12,916-square-foot castle is like a fairy tale come true. With over 42 acres of land, a guesthouse, and a beautiful view of Touraine, France, you’ll have no issues entertaining friends

 

    PRICE: $4,890,000   Here’s a 5-bedroom, 1,331-square-foot townhouse in the Bronx. The bars on the window will help prevent burglary and are probably a fire hazard   

PRICE: $4,890,000

Here’s a 5-bedroom, 1,331-square-foot townhouse in the Bronx. The bars on the window will help prevent burglary and are probably a fire hazard

 

I'm Flipping Out

Every design dork has a special place in their heart for reality television (Trading Spaces, House Hunters, Top Design, etc), so all my dreams came true when I realized there was a reality show about remodeling my old apartment.  

I have loved the show, Flipping Out with Jeff Lewis, for years.  I knew he remodeled Chaz Dean's hair salon (located behind my apartment building), and I knew Chaz Dean purchased my building, but I had no idea that the remodel would be featured on his show.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world!

 

 Flipping Out: Season 7, Episode 2 - My Living Room!  I painted that fireplace!  I hope Jeff says something disparaging about it.  

Flipping Out: Season 7, Episode 2 - My Living Room!  I painted that fireplace!  I hope Jeff says something disparaging about it.  

At first they just showed some images of the empty interior, but then they ripped everything out!

This is the rendering for the exterior, and it looks remarkably like the finished product (because I have driven by the actual building).  I wouldn't be surprised if someone just drew the finished product and the show passed it off as a concept rendering.

 Google Maps

Google Maps