Googie architecture, in all its flamboyant space-age grandeur, has as its namesake the Lautner-designed 1949 Googies coffee shop at Sunset and Crescent Heights.
There were four Googies in the coffee shop chain; the second of the four was designed by legendary coffee shop architects Armét & Davis, with all the atomic-era exuberance that had come to define Googie style—an angular roofline, ebullient signage, lots of flagstone, and walls of glass that erased the boundaries between inside and out.
That second Googies was downtown, at Fifth and Olive, attached onto the San Carlos hotel; it made an appearance in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles in “Modern on the Hill,” as part of how the San Carlos (née Auditorium) Hotel was stripped of its Edwardian ornament and brought into the atomic era. Page 148:
A close-up of our coffee shop in question:
I bring this up specifically because the most amazing book has been recently published. No, not my book—though yes, I’m not ashamed to say this new book also hails from Angel City Press, titans of book publishing. The book to which I refer is Googie Modern:
And, holy moly, this book is killer. If you’ve any interest in mid-Century—you may have a familiarity with Hess’ two books on Googie—this is essential. 208 pages! It’s got interviews and essays and tons of images no-one has ever seen. More to the point for our purposes here, it contains the rendering reproduced above—in a nifty “then and now” configuration the book utilizes—
—plus SIX PAGES of Googies downtown renderings and design studies! Not to mention a freakin’ essay on the Fifth & Olive Googies!
I’ll just tempt you with the mere mention of those images…no, I’m not going to actually SHOW them to you; to see them in all their glory you have to in fact BUY the dang book, ya bum. Rather, I’ll obscure them, and the essay, with this nifty Fifth & Olive menu. Ha!
Oh, and you might remember the other day I mentioned you should come by USC for some Bunker Hill book-signin’ fun? Well, my pal Alan will be there too:
In fact, he and co-author Michael Murphy will be there both days! They along with all sorts of literary luminaries:
So, to sum up, go get Googie Modern, or better yet go to USC this weekend and get Googie Modern, and then I’ll see you at Pann’s!