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Touring Millard Sheets's Art-chitecture Studio in Claremont

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It's Sheets Week and we're celebrating Millard Sheets, the artist and architectural designer who dotted Southern California with beautiful modern Home Savings bank branches (now mostly Chases). Throughout the week, we'll be touring some of the Sheets buildings that still stand.

Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

In 1953, Millard Sheets created Millard Sheets Designs Inc.; "at the height of large-project activity, the studio employed between twenty-five and thirty artisans and architects" and was "often reminiscent of a medieval craft guildhall," according to the book Millard Sheets: Renaissance Man. Sheets, with architects David Underwood and BH Anderson, designed a little complex to house the practice on Foothill Boulevard--it included an office building and drafting room connected to an atelier, all "nestled in a courtyard-like garden surrounded by exotic plants and stone pathways," as described by the LA Conservancy's booklet on Sheets.

More from the Conservancy:

Unusual for an office and studio, all the windows are on the rear or sides of the buildings; no windows face the street. In their place are solid expanses of white walls, decorated with small mosaics. On the southeast corner of the property stands what was originally the studio used for constructing murals. The studio's windowless street façade is dotted with mosaics of falconers and their birds cavorting under the sun, moon, and a scattering of stars. Gold tiles embedded in the design glint in the sun. While the back of the building is one story, the front portion was designed with extra height to accommodate large projects. A two-story rolling scaffold built to facilitate the work remains inside. The building now houses medical offices, but the good doctors have left things "remarkably intact" (including the travertine sign for Millard Sheets Designs Inc. and Millard Sheets Murals Inc. on the corner of the lot). Sheet's office is now used for administration and is still home to its original built-in furniture. These photos were taken on the LA Conservancy's Sheets tour this past spring (the booklet for the tour is available online here); huge thanks to them!
· Sheets Week [Curbed LA]