[LAT] Koreatown’s cool old buildings point to LA’s future

December 1, 2014
(Los Angeles Times photo)

(Los Angeles Times photo)

[LOS ANGELES TIMES] — A 1941 Los Angeles guidebook described architect Myron Hunt’s I. Magnin building on Wilshire Boulevard, finished two years earlier, as an “elaborate new” department store with shop floors “furnished in shades of apricot” and featuring “indirect lighting effects like those achieved by Parisian artists and technicians.”

On a Saturday night inside S Bar, the club tucked away on the building’s fourth floor, prewar elegance didn’t exactly come to mind as a DJ perched on a high platform looked out at a sea of twentysomethings, their tables crowded with shot glasses, beer bottles and stale popcorn. With pulsing strobe lights and a U-shaped bar outlined in ice-blue neon, the place was closer to the design equivalent of vodka and Red Bull in a plastic cup.

Yet S Bar and the other businesses in what is now called the Wilshire Galleria, pitched to a largely Korean and Korean American clientele, have protected Hunt’s Art Deco landmark from the wrecking ball simply by keeping it economically viable.

The relationship between the nightclub and the building suggests the peculiar respect — jostling, energetic and impious — that Koreatown shows the architecture of its host city. [READ MORE]