In 1919, fifty percent of residents in Los Angeles lived in Downtown Los Angeles, all mostly Protestant Anglo-Saxons. An oil boom, a doubling of the Los Angeles population within a 9 year-span and major growth in the Hollywood silent movie scene all made Downtown LA a playground for the affluent. Expensive theaters were built, and the architecture was molded to resemble a new architecture in France: Art Deco.
Art Deco can be thought of as the daughter of Art Nouveau. Art Deco combines the design motifs of Art Nouveau, think Gustav Klimt or French graphic design during the 1900s, with the design motifs from the industrial age (1880-1945), think Howard Roark’s architecture in The Fountainhead or the lines in an industrial freight train. Actually perfect, Art Deco is Ayn Rand meets Gustav Klimt, which would make a very intriguing dinner discussion, heated I imagine.
The Art Deco architecture in Los Angeles, touted by LA Conservancy in their weekly tours of Downtown Los Angeles, truly shows the value of Downtown Los Angeles.