Thursday, September 27, 2012

LA Part 2 - The Getty Center

One of the things that came highly recommended to us while in LA was a trip to the Getty Centre.  My in-laws visited a few years ago while on a road trip and couldn't stop raving about the venue and the art.  I am a huge Richard Meier fan and so the opportunity to visit one of his buildings was definitely high on my list.  Designed in the late 80's the center houses the J Paul Getty Trust with an incredible collection of art that spans centuries and multiple styles.  The center sits on top of a hill in Pacific Palisades and has some of the most breathtaking views over LA – or any other city for that matter – that I have ever seen.  Featuring manicured gardens, several different buildings and countless fountains, the property is incredible.  We really felt that Meier was taking us on an architectural tour of the senses with varying textures of stones, plants and metals, and at each turn it was very clear what the intentions were architecturally and physically.  It was like we were being taken on our own personal tour of the grounds with Meier dictating where we should look, his architecture framing each vista.

The interior is just as captivating as the view and exterior planning with a juxtaposition of materials, textures and colours that is breathtaking.  It features a perfect mix between modern building and art gallery. In the public spaces the same textured stone is on the walls and in true Meier fashion everything is painted a varying shade of white. However, once you cross the threshold into. The gallery spaces, there is the introduction of fumed Oak doors, casings and skirting and the walls are either painted rich luscious colours, or covered in stunning fabrics. The contrast is incredible (see images below) and really helps to highlight the collections of art. 

This sensitivity to gallery space and the. Art it houses is pushed one step further with the decorative arts collection. With some amazing 17th and 18th century pieces the interior architectural details go one step further with ornate mouldings, doors and upholstered walls,  giving the viewer the feeling that we are walking around the National Gallery in London rather than a modern Meier creation in Pacific Palisades. It truly is a wonderful experience and feeling and left me completely in awe of the contrast and execution of such details.

The visit was truly memorable and should be a must on anyone's list of things to see/do in LA. We could have spent the day enjoying the view, discovering the galleries and just relaxing on what feels like the highest point in LA. 

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