California in Focus
Cindy Allen -- Interior Design, 2/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Our February portfolio is a tad unusual in genesis and development. And that's as it should be, when the matter at hand is California. (Consider a Gensler headquarters that puts "corporate" aside and two L.A. projects that channel Richard Neutra and James Bond, respectively.) What all our stories share, though, is an only-in-California quality, no rhapsody intended.
If we can identify California-ness with such certainty, we owe an equally certain debt to one man: Julius Shulman. Prior to welcoming Julius to the Interior Design Hall of Fame in December, we did oodles of research on his work, due diligence we perform for each Hall of Fame inductee. Our look-see left us mesmerized, wondering at the sheer vastness of California design and architecture—which achieve even greater drama in the black-and-white world of Julius's photographs.
Perhaps we should have expected as much. We did not anticipate, however, what would happen when our investigative work faded into the background, and Julius's perspective on Pierre Koenig and Neutra (though not James Bond) emerged in the form of a seven-minute video, presented to Hall of Fame guests at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. As the lights came up, the house came down. A crowd of 1,100 otherwise sophisticated individuals instantly turned into a whooping and hollering mob, unleashing a hurricane of applause—much to the astonishment of the jaded Waldorf staff. Everyone including this writer joined in sonorous congratulations for Julius's lifetime achievement. Yet everyone also joined Julius behind the lens, looking at a California splendidly towering among the tallest landmarks of our industry.