Paul Laszlo (1900-93)

Hungarian architect, interior, and furniture designer, born Debrecen, Hungary; active Vienna, Stuttgart, and Los Angeles.

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His glamorous, highly personal work came to epitomize the California Modern aesthetic.

Educated in Vienna, Laszlo later moved to Stuttgart, where he had established a successful decorating firm by 1927. Alarmed by the increasingly anti-Semitic political climate in Germany ¬ó and a clash with Albert Speer, Hitler´s architect ¬ó he abandoned his business and fled to New York in 1936.

Laszlo made his way to Beverly Hills shortly thereafter, where he reestablished his studio and quickly rose to prominence. His work attracted a celebrity clientele including Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Barbara Hutton, and Ronald Reagan; in fact, his clients in general were so well-heeled and powerful that a 1952 Time magazine article nicknamed him "the millionaire´s architect."

In addition to designs issued under his own label, Laszlo produced a variety of furniture for mass production. In 1948, Herman Miller hired him to create a collection for the middle class market; he also collaborated with Glenn of California and Brown Saltman.

Although noted for their sumptuous materials and fine craftsmanship, Laszlo´s furniture and interiors were tastefully understated. And, because Laszlo designed every detail from fixtures to textiles, his spaces were always remarkably cohesive. He was also noted for his ability to create harmonious schemes out of disparate and unexpected colors.

Notable interior projects included department stores, corporate interiors, hotels, and the interiors of Howard Hughes' Las Vegas casinos. Other slightly more unusual ventures included a swanky bomb shelter for the United States Air Force, and "Atomville", a futuristic underground city.

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