Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of the nation’s film and television industry. Near its iconic Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours. On Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre displays celebrities’ hand- and footprints, the Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes.
With its neon sign glowing on top of the twelve-storey building, the Roosevelt, which opened in 1927, is part of the Hollywood legend. Among its investors were Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer, the very people who presided over the founding of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that same year. No wonder then that, in 1929, the first Academy Awards ceremony, with a paying dinner for 250 guests who were quickly sent on their way, took place amidst its still-intact Spanish-revival decor. Later, Montgomery Clift shut himself up in room 928 to prepare for his role in From Here to Eternity. Marilyn Monroe, who stayed in room 246 and suite 1200, was a regular guest. Time passed, and the Roosevelt faded like an aging but still-beautiful actress. It was revamped a few years ago by Dodd Mitchell, who held nothing back when it came to mixing styles – ranch, urban, safari, Streamline. Note also The Public Kitchen & Bar and the Spare Room, an unusual bar designed by Med Abrous and Marc Rose, with bowling, Scrabble and dominoes, along with concerts held every Thursday night. The Cabana Poolside is the best of the twelve categories of rooms and suites, which overlook the famous Tropicana Pool painted by David Hockney.
After Fred Segal on Melrose comes Fred Segal on Sunset: a sleek 1,200-square-metre wonder-store, brand new but sporting the same world-famous signage – a roof in nautical blue and red stripes and embryonic ivy inching up the facade. Fred Segal’s move in December 2017 sent an electric current through Los Angeles, jolting the brand back to life and reinvigorating tired Sunset Strip. The luxury cooperative’s contribution to the block is impressive: revolving art installations, Angeleno florist Matriarch, a concierge, a bakery by Tartine and award-winning chef Raphael Francois’s new restaurant, Tesse. Apparel brand Kith has taken over the basement. The best of LA fills the rest of the space: beauty by CAP, sunglasses by Frames Ewe, womenswear by Santa Monica’s Maris Collective, menswear by Segal alumni Hartel, handmade shoes by Esquivel and nostalgic childrenswear by Eggy. There is something for every taste, from minimal leather jackets by LTH JKT and monastic gender-neutral apparel by Seeker to opulent hand-embellished statement pieces by Libertine, feminism-infused designs by Suzanne Rae and ethical fashion by Pour Les Femmes, Atelier & Repairs, Replika Vintage and CFDA Loves Sustainability. Why go anywhere else?
Its architecture, designed by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro Agency already breaks with established conventions by placing a giant stainless steel honeycomb veil over a structure that will house more than 2,000 works by artists including Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, J.-M. Basquiat and Roy Lichenstein. This is not the first venture for the collectors and wealthy patrons, Eli and Edythe Broad: another museum bearing their name and designed by Zaha Hadid was opened in East Lansing, Michigan. They have also established the Broad Contemporary Art Museum inside the LACMA wing designed by Renzo Piano, as well as the BroadStage, designed by the firm of Renzo Zecchetto Architects, which is located in Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. The Los Angeles Broad has for neighbours the Disney Concert Hall and the MOCA, rescued from bankruptcy in 2009 by the very same Eli Broad.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Sir John Soane, the innovative Regency architect whose works included the Bank of England, was also a collector of eccentric antiquities. This museum is located in what was his residence and studio, a place that reflects his eclectic interests and experiments with illusionist architectural forms. The organized chaos of this intriguingly labyrinthine cabinet of curiosities assaults the eye, with objects as diverse as the alabaster sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I, Roman marble busts, Hogarth paintings and Renaissance statues that emerge from false walls in the manner of an Advent calendar. Magical.
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