Monday, February 13, 2017

New Development Threatens the Original Eames-Designed Herman Miller Showroom

The 1949 famous building could be surrounded by a mixed-use hotel, retail, and residential tower.
Developer Jason Illoulian’s Faring Capital (which also owns Norms La Cienega and the Factory nightclub on Robertson) owns the showroom, as well as the adjacent 1931 art deco building (formerly Poliform), former Tommy Hilfiger retail store, and 4-story apartment house. He has plans to use the space to build a mixed-use development. The multi-story project includes a hotel, retail, and approximately 80 residential units, according to West Hollywood associate planner Adrian Gallo. It would only partially preserve the Eames showroom.
“They’re keeping the first half of it intact,” Gallo said of the showroom. “And the back half of it would be the new building.” Adrian Scott Fine, preservation director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, wants to see a more sensitive approach. “I understand that the intent is to preserve the front of the building,” he says. “It’s more than a facadectomy.”
The original showroom interior was modular and designed to show off furniture the way it might look in a home. Charles and Ray Eames designed covers for Arts & Architecture magazine, and their pieces were ubiquitous in the magazine’s Case Study House program.
Representatives for the developer will be sharing more plans last February 9 at a community meeting for neighbors to learn how the project will affect them. Roy Rogers Oldenkamp, president of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, is confident the new project will save much of the original building. Oldenkamp relayed a Faring spokesman’s message that the project will “peel back the layers of time to bring the Eames masterwork as close to the original as possible.”
It’s one thing to update the interiors of a neoclassical building when stone and stucco hide everything. Saving a glass façade requires a real master.
We wish that Charles and Ray were still around to take the job.

Thanks for sharing: Los Angeles Magazine
Photography by Julius Shulman © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Herman Miller showroom designed in 1949 by Charles and Ray Eames