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Who Bought 30 TONS of R Lalique Glass? A “Castle In The Air” and An American Success Story!

Oviatt Building in Los Angeles Containing Tons of R LaliqueIn 1906, James Oviatt left Salt Lake City and headed to Los Angeles to make his fortune. 5 years later in 1911, he partnered up with Frank Alexander to create what would become THE high end fashionable clothing store in Los Angeles: Alexander and Oviatt.

Oviatt traveled extensively buying fabrics and keeping up with fashions worldwide to bring his clients the latest and greatest from around the world. 1925 saw Oviatt at the Paris Exposition, where he gave the great Rene Lalique a commission to fabricate the architectural glass for his planned Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, which was to become the first Art Deco building in the city. More than 30 tons of glass made for the new Oviatt Building were shipped thru the Panama Canal and installed all over the 12 story building.

Lalique also created a perfume bottle to commemorate the opening of the building, the distinctive “Le Parfum Des Anges” which includes in it’s design the seal of the City of Los Angeles, and which is pictured below.

And Oviatt also ordered custom tableware from Lalique, monogrammed with his initials for use in the penthouse. Only a few pieces of this tableware are known to have survived.

R Lalique Doors To Oviatt BuildingOviatt and his wife lived on the top of the building, in a 10 room penthouse with two floors of outdoor terraces that became famous not just for the parties and the celebrities that frequently visited there, but also for the magnificent R Lalique glass which can still be found there to this day. The Penthouse terraces had a pool, tennis courts, a sand beach, a putting green, and gardens. Everyone from Howard Hughes to Errol Flynn frequented the penthouse. It was in its day, and it remains 80 years later, an amazing place. The Oviatts lived in the penthouse for nearly 50 years until the mid 70’s.

Rene Lalique Designed Mailbox and Elevator Door PanelsRecently, the penthouse has been magnificently restored, and can be rented for weddings, parties, etc. The original roof top pool is gone, but you can party there both indoors and out with no curfew on your live music. Rumor is that the penthouse is also rented from time to time by LA celebs wanting privacy and an in town get-away. Here is a link to a Video Tour of the Oviatt Penthouse (sorry, it’s from TV Bride, showing the penthouse as a place to rent for a wedding :)!

Lalique Perfume Bottle Le Parfum Des Anges Created For the Opening of the Oviatt BuildingAlso, additional information is contained at this link to the Oviatt Building Penthouse Website. As the building is in the National Register of Historic Places, here is a link to added information at the LA Conservancy. And finally, here is a link to a very Detailed History Of The Building. It is possible to get a tour of the Penthouse under certain circumstances. The Oviatt is an LA Landmark, an Iconic Art Deco Structure, and a lasting testament to the work of Rene Lalique! If you’re in LA and decide to inquire either at the Oviatt or at the Conservancy, don’t forget to tell them you read about it here, at RLalique.com!

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One Response to “Who Bought 30 TONS of R Lalique Glass? A “Castle In The Air” and An American Success Story!”

  1. 1005 says:

    The Oviatt Building’s sand-etched and painted glass marquee (and its arcade entrance ceiling) were not made of Lalique glass, as is commonly believed. In fact, the glass was designed and made by the studio of Gaetan Jeannin, a French pioneer in the technique of sand-etching. Jeannin is all but forgotten today, but in his prime (1920-1935), he received dozens of European commissions. The Oviatt Building is his only known U.S. commission, and perhaps his largest ever.

    Rene Lalique (and perhaps his son) designed and made the Oviatt Building’s side doors, front doors, elevator door panels, a clock, and three massive chandeliers, as well as windowpanes, chandeliers and wall sconces for the building’s penthouse. Today, only the front doors and elevator door panels remain.

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