LA’s Quintissential Public and Corporate Spaces: Welton Becket

Last week we began our exploration of Los Angeles quintessential public spaces with an overview of the work of John C. Austin. We continue the series with Mr. Welton Becket, another trailblazer of Los Angeles corporate architecture.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Washington in 1927, Welton Becket founded a small architecture firm with fellow classmates Walter Wurdeman and Charles F. Plummer. The resulting partnership went on to create several iconic structures, such as the Pan Pacific Auditorium. Although both of his partners passed away before 1950, this was the start that catapulted Becket into Los Angeles architecture stardom. Here are some of his most famous works:

Pan Pacific Auditorium

This sprawling 100,000 sq ft structure was designed in 1935 and hosted thousands of public events, sports teams, and political rallies until 1972. It was recognized as a national historic place in 1978, but to the great misfortune of our city, was lost in a momentous fire in 1989.

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Photos courtesy of LAist.

Capitol Records Building

This landmark is as synonymous with Los Angeles as palm trees and aspiring actors. It was designed in 1956 and recognized as a National Historic Place in 1985. Unlike many historic buildings, Capitol Records is still used for its original purpose, to record and produce music for Capitol Music Group.

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Photos courtesy of Curbed LA.

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

After its opening in 1958, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium quickly became the leading music venue in Los Angeles, hosting concerts by the likes of Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Village People, Dave Brubeck, The Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, and Bob Dylan. In recent years, business has lagged and the beautiful building has essentially ceased operations. At the moment, the City of Santa Monica is considering demolition of the building entirely. Find out more at

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Photos courtesy of LA Conservancy.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

By the mid 1960s, Welton Becket and Associates was one of this largest architecture firms in the world. He only accepted projects in which he could orchestrate a “total design” approach, in which he was given free reign to engineer every aspect of the project, including master/site planning, engineering, all interior work, fixtures and finishes, furnishings, and landscaping. Such was the case with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the result is stunning.

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Photos courtesy of Experience LA.


April 23rd, 2015|0 Comments

In the Press: eVolo Visits the Modernica Factory

Modernica was honored to host eVolo Architecture Magazine at our Los Angeles facility for a full factory tour. The eVolo team investigated the manufacturing techniques and historical processes that make our products unique. We were thrilled when the print magazine came out this month with a multi-page feature on our company. Here are a few highlights from the article:

Architecture Magazine

“Modernica started out of the passion of Frank and Jay Novak for mid-century design after purchasing 12,000 discarded Eames fiberglass shell chairs from Century Plastics in 1989 after Herman Miller discounted the line – they also purchased all the original equipment in 2010.

What started as a small operation twenty-five years ago has grown into a very successful company that sells more than 30,000 fiberglass chairs per year, among many other mid-century-inspired furniture and lamps. What makes them relevant is their attention to detail in every piece produced. This is possible because their factory operates like a series of European workshops – small teams of five to ten people that specialize in a part of the process. The workshops are distinct families, each with their own schedule, rhythm, and vibe; we refer to them as such because the atmosphere was that of a family reunion.”   – Carlo Aiello, Editor in Chief of eVolo Magazine

CHairs in the Fiberglass Factory Eames Chair Technician Modernica Shell Chair Factory Modernica Factory by eVolo Modernica Woodshop Upholstery Department Modernica in eVolo Magazine

July 29th, 2014|0 Comments

Now That LA Murals are Legal, Who Wants One?

Last summer, a 10-year ban on public murals was lifted in Los Angeles. Although the courts are still working out the details of how to sanction the public works of art, local artists are finding all sorts of ways to push the boundaries.

One popular trend is to paint murals on private homes and apartment buildings, which is not often well-received by the neighbors. We want to know your thoughts on the matter – would you be happy to live next door to one of these?

Dan Mural

Hollywood Mural by Modernica’s Dan Smith


Kent Twitchell’s Steve McQueen Monument. Photo courtesy of LA Times.


6th Street Mural by Augustine Kofie. Photo courtesy of


Chris Brown’s infamous Wall Monsters in the Hollywood Hills. Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.

LA Arts District Murals

Artist Unknown. Photo courtesy of Cartwheel Art.


Painting at Modernica 7th Place Office by Becca Midwood


Bird Mural on Home

Mural project by Avenue 50 Studio. Photo courtesy of SCPR.


Heal the Bay House by Retna and Risk. Photo courtesy of LA TACO.


Artist unknown. Photo by Saul Gonzalez.

Shepard Fairey and Kim West

Paintings by Shepard Fairey and Kim West. Photo courtesy of Cartwheel Art.


Kent Twitchell’s “Bride and Groom.” Photo by Saul Gonzales.

Dabs and Myla and How

Arts District mural by How & Nosm and Dabs & Myla. Photo courtesy of Cartwheel Art.


May 20th, 2014|2 Comments

Dealer Spotlight: Potted in Atwater Village

What happens when two creatives from the film industry with a shared love for gardening and modern design start a business? Potted – one of the most innovative outdoor and garden stores in Los Angeles.

Patio Furniture and Planter Store

Their mantra, “Indoor style for outdoor living,” is made evident with every stylish planter and designer piece of outdoor furniture. Each item and product line is hand-picked by owners Mary Gray and Annette Gutierrez to create beautiful outdoor environments that are designed much as any interior would be. In fact, Gutierrez’s own garden was recently featured in Sunset Magazine for its unique take on landscaping:

“To transform the 3,000-square-foot yard, she created a series of outdoor rooms landscaped almost entirely with potted plants. ‘I get to redecorate over and over,’ says Gutierrez. ‘I just move my pots around a little and I have a whole new yard.'” – Sunset Magazine

Read more about Gutierrez’s spectacular potted garden in Sunset Magazine, or visit the Potted official site.

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April 23rd, 2014|0 Comments

An After-Hours Peek at the Modernica Upholstery Department

Throughout the day, our upholstery department is bustling with seamstresses, craftsmen, and master upholsterers. But once the doors shut at the end of the day, a peaceful calm settles over the rolls of fabric, hand-tools, and sewing machines. We thought we’d sneak in and take a few shots of this busy department in one of its rare quiet moments.

Dining Chair Fabric

Fabric Cutter

Fabric Rolls

Modernica Sewing Machines

Modernica Upholstery Patterns

Uphostery Tools

Case Study Lounge Chair

November 26th, 2013|0 Comments