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Posts Tagged ‘Southwestern School of Law’

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The (tarnished) copper and terracotta tower of Bullocks Wilshire, meant to be seen far and wide.

Art of every kind has a double job to do. First, it must be pleasing in itself. Second, it must present a faithful picture of the times in which it was produced. Good art – the kind of art that lasts for ages – always does just this. It invariably mirrors life as it is being lived. Through the art that is being produced today, future generations will come to know us. 

Jock Peters (1889-1943), Danish born architect.

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I found this quote in Bullocks Wilshire, a book by Margaret Leslie Davis which tells the tale of the impressive Art Deco building built in 1929 to house the upscale department store Bullocks Wilshire (pictured above).

Mr. Peters was the interior designer for the building and I would say that he certainly created an environment that reflects the aesthetics and values of his time.

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Art Deco elevators doors on the first floor.

Located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the famous department store had to have been the most fabulous of shopping experiences back in the day. Five floors of impeccable Art Deco design with attention to detail using materials including marble, copper, brass, crystal, and all kinds of exquisite wood. Murals inside and out by artists of the day reflected the building’s overall theme of transportation and commerce.

There was the Tea Room, the Studio of Beauty, a lounge for the ladies and a smoking room for the gents. Each department had a different Art Deco clock. Hollywood costume designer Irene sold exclusively at Bullocks Wilshire in her own department. Clark Gable bought his riding gear in the Saddle Shop. Angela Landsbury worked at the cosmetics counter before her big break in the movies.

Over the years, the building’s interior changed as styles changed. Things were covered up and painted over. Bullocks, Inc. which owned and operated several stores, merged with San Francisco’s I. Magnin in 1944. Many years later Federated Department Stores took over and then, sadly, in 1993 Bullocks Wilshire closed thanks in part to shifts in the immediate neighborhood and a decline in retail sales. The building remained unoccupied until Southwestern Law School purchased it in 1994 and immediately started a complete renovation.

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One of the many Bullocks Wilshire clocks.

On a recent visit to Los Angeles I was lucky enough to take a tour and I tip my hat to Southwestern Law School for their dedication to and appreciation of the beauty and integrity of this amazing historical structure.

 

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That’s me! In the Louis XVI Room,  which was designed to feel like Marie Antoinette’s boudoir.  This was one of two “period” rooms where ladies sat comfortably while mannequins modeled the latest fashions. There were no racks of clothing back then. Perish the thought!

Have I piqued your interest? Would you like to take a look-see yourself?  The building is not open to the public on a daily basis but twice a year in the summer there are tours. Click here for details. 

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