Jim Isermann has transformed a dreary institutional gray Metro facility into an eye catching and playful landmark fitting for its prime Miracle Mile setting.
Located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, the Metro Customer Center helps over 10,000 patrons a month purchase passes, obtain route and transit information and transact reduced fare applications. In addition, 2,500 patrons visit the Lost & Found operations on a monthly basis to claim articles.
Originally the site of Tilford’s Restaurant and Lounge, a well remembered restaurant from mid-century designed by famed LA architect Welton Beckett, the building stood empty for years. In 1984 it was purchased by the Southern California Rapid Transit District for Metro Rail’s original westbound alignment. Over the years it was stucco clad and painted institutional gray. Up to now it has been practically invisible to the LA population despite its prominent location.
Metro Art commissioned Jim Isermann, an artist known for his decorative, bold-pattern designs in work that includes furniture, wall coverings, rugs, paintings and fabric covered sculptures to create a dynamic and colorful exterior to enhance the customer appeal as well as create Metro awareness. Isermann’s work is inspired by the architectural vernacular of Southern California sun screens used to cosmetically ‘modernize’ architecture in the 1950s and 60s. The screens traditionally ignored original ornamentation and simply wrapped the ‘offending’ building.
“The steel module design consists of shapes with 3 orientations, each powder coated in a different blue hue, a combination of which creates an illusion of cubes in three dimensions - a building block. The monumental installation of modules do not wrap the entire building. The lower 8 feet of the building are uncovered to reveal both the stucco-fication of the Beckett design and the utility of the sun screen.”
JIM ISERMANN was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He received a Master of Fine Arts from CalArts and his work has chronicled the conflation of post-war industrial design and fine art through popular culture. He believes in the beauty of utilitarian design and has explored several traditional handicraft techniques such as stained glass, hand-sewn patchwork and hand-loomed weaving. His work has evolved from didactic representations of the failure of modernism to the physical embodiment of pure design. Isermann received a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2001. He shows his work in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Europe.
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