In 1925, James Oviatt was already a successful businessman. His department store, Alexander & Oviatt, had been attracting a high-end Los Angeles clientele in downtown LA for nearly a decade. He was in the midst of plans for their next expansion, a new building, constructed from the ground up…
Photo via Flickr user Floyd B. Bariscale
… when he took a business trip to Europe. The original building design was in Italian Romanesque style, but luckily for us, he happened to find himself in Paris at the dawn of a new age… 1925 was the year of Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the birthplace of Art Deco.
Oviatt was awed by these new designs, and upon his return to the States, he ordered the architects to construct the new building in the brand new style. He spared no expense, importing over ten tons of Lalique glass for use throughout the building.
And so the first true art deco building made its debut in Los Angeles in 1928 (and it included a 10 room art deco penthouse on top for Oviatt’s own residence.) The store closed in the 60s, but both the main space (a restaurant and venue now known as “Cicada“) and The Oviatt Penthouse are available for weddings and events, and they are the perfect backdrop to a Los Angeles art deco wedding. Take a look!
(also: If you are an art deco fan who happens to be visiting Los Angeles, be sure to check out the wonderful LA Conservancy and their incredible walking tours. They have an Art Deco Tour that features Cicada and the Oviatt Penthouse, and the other stops on the tour are a delight as well. They do great work!)