The hottest style in L.A. design circles architecture, furnishings and fabrics is Art Deco, the sleekly elegant mode established nearly a century ago

When The Grove at Farmers Market opens next year, the new buildings looming overhead will have a familiar look.

Nearly half of them will be have an Art Deco design, with streamlined curves, chrome fixtures and neon lights greeting visitors to the behemoth shopping center.

The choice by Caruso Affiliated Holdings, the center's developer, of Art Deco architecture is just part of the resurgence of an architectural style that is popping up in new buildings all over Los Angeles.

Three months ago, KABC-TV packed up and moved its broadcast facility from Los Angeles to an Art Deco structure in Glendale. The three-story building has porthole windows, undulating chrome fixtures and crisp lines that give it the look of an ocean liner.

And when the Hollywood & Highland entertainment/retail project opens later this year, the 25,000-square-foot ballroom located on the second floor will have an Art Deco look reminiscent of the heyday of Hollywood.

Around Los Angeles and the country there are signs that Art Deco is resurfacing, and not only in architecture: Flapper dresses are making a comeback in the fall fashion lineup.

Style revival

"What we have been seeing both in the U.S. market and also in the European market is a really high level of interest in Art Deco," said Walton Borton, a writer specializing in antiques. "Art Deco is modern enough in feel that you don't feel trapped by heavy textiles, and it is a little easier to use Art Deco with other styles, whether it is something extremely modern to Bauhaus."

The Pacific Design Center is rife with designers featuring the style, including furniture designer Dakota Jackson, which is showing a number of pieces inspired by Art Deco. Donghia which designs furniture, fabrics and wallpaper also is injecting Art Deco designs in some of its products, like platinum wallpaper.

Cecile Bradbury, whose Bradbury Collection of furniture is all Art Deco, has noticed that more people in recent months have been visiting her Pacific Design Center showroom and taking a new look at some of her pieces.

"For awhile it was all 1950s' furniture, blonde furniture, which evokes the late 1940s and early 1950s," said Bradbury. "But blonde furniture is not selling well right now. People are going with the richer colors of wood, like rosewood, that are typical of Art Deco and mixing it with 1950s' furniture."

Interior designers also are noticing that people who embraced the "mid-century" look of the 1950s for their homes and offices are now spicing them up with modern style pieces, such as Art Deco.

"Retro is in, and that encompasses the 1950s and Art Deco," said Nan Werley, a Los Angeles interior designer who is president of the American Society of Interior Designers.

Art Deco has its roots in France and received its name from the "Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes" show held in Paris in 1925. The idea was to create a sleek and nontraditional elegance that symbolized wealth and sophistication.

Art Deco incorporated simple, clean shapes with a streamlined look and geometric or stylized ornamentation. Typical motifs included nude female figures, animals, foliage and sunrays. In New York, such famous structures as the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center were erected in the Art Deco style.

In Los Angeles, Art Deco buildings include the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, the Oviatt Building in downtown Los Angeles, the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles' City Hall and the Bullock's Wilshire building in the Mid-Wilshire district.

Looking forward, back

The importance of Art Deco in Southern California is one of the reasons the architects planning The Grove at Farmers Market at Fairfax Avenue and Third Street decided to include that style in the 575,000-square-foot shopping center.

"Stylistically, we just liked Art Deco," said Dave Williams, vice president of architecture for Caruso. "When developing our concept we picked architectural styles that were indigenous to the city of Los Angeles, and Art Deco had to be there."

The new center's Banana Republic store will be housed in a 35,000-square-foot Deco building, and Barnes and Noble will be inside an 80,000-square-foot structure.

The shopping center's 14-screen movie theater will be showcased inside an Art Deco building that will have a 1920s-style marquee outside and balconies with loge-style seating inside.

The Beverly Center is another shopping center that has injected a bit of Art Deco into its d & #233;cor. Management recently decided to spiff up the nearly 20-year-old mall by adding areas that resemble sleek, contemporary living rooms decorated with couches, chairs and carpets that have Art Deco influences.

While Art Deco seems to be making a splash in our lives again, there are those who say it never went away.

"There has always been an interest in general in Art Deco," said Mitzi March Mogul, president of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. "Probably because of the sense of fun that it embodies, people find it very appealing. It is also a very sophisticated style, and people find that appealing. Both those qualities are enjoying a renaissance right now."

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