Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Graves, Michael, Architect (firm); Michael Edward Graves (architect)

Dates: constructed 1980

Los Angeles, CA

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The head of Sunar, a furniture company, Robert Cadwallader, offered Graves a commission in 1979 to design two temporary showrooms in New York, NY, and Chicago, IL. Because of their broad historical references, the showrooms clashed with the prevailing Late Modernist ahistoricism of the late 1970s. The showrooms became highly publicized, triggering the commission for permanent ones in Los Angeles, CA, (1980), Houston, TX, (1981), New York (1981) and Dallas, TX, (1982). Architectural critic Charles Jencks wrote of the Los Angeles showroom: "Measured, classical spaces of various shapes are organised on a processional route that has one culmination in the sculptural collage. Something like thirty-five shades of colour are used to define these various shapes: the predominant mood is Egyptian." (See Charles Jencks, Kings of Infinite Space, [London: Academy Editions, 1983]. p. 76.) The influence of Egyptian architecture can be seen in many of Graves's designs of the early 1980s, particularly his use of tall, narrow corridor proportion leading one through formal, processional spaces. Columns or piers, placed tightly, recalled Karnak and other Egyptian landmarks. This overt allusion to historical references transgressed the ahistorical boundaries of Late Modernism, making Graves a sensation c. 1980.

PCAD id: 15407