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HISTORY

The James Oviatt Building, commonly referred to as The Oviatt Building, is an Art Deco high-rise in Downtown Los Angeles located at 617 S. Olive Street, half a block south of 6th St. and Pershing Square. In 1983, the Oviatt Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

This grand building was constructed as the headquarters of one of the most prestigious and expensive haberdasheries in the city, Alexander & Oviatt. The building housed the shop (now Cicada restaurant), rentable office space, and a penthouse suite for owner James Oviatt.

During the early phases of construction of the Italian Romanesque styled building, Oviatt attended the 1925 Paris Exposition and decided to decorate his building in the new style. When the building was completed, the sheltered lobby forecourt contained over thirty tons of glass by designer Rene Lalique. While most of the glass as been lost or sold over the years, a few original pieces remain in the panels at the top of the lobby columns. Lalique also designed the mallechort elevator doors, mailboxes, and directories. The shop interior retains the elegant art deco fixtures, stair rails, and molded plaster ceiling panels.

Oviatt's ten-room penthouse was originally decorated by the Parisian design firm of Saddler et fils. The rooms featured burled mahogany furniture and cabinets, parquet wood floors in geometric patterns, carved woodwork, imported fabrics and Lalique glass throughout.

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