The Jet-Age, Googie-style Norms diner on La Cienega has had a hell of a year, with a demolition scare, a temporary stay of execution, and the revelation that the diner inside the angular, mid-century building might not be a part of the owner's vision for a collection of high-end shops on the site. But now, at the very least, the shell of the 1957 building (designed by Googie kings Louis Armet and Eldon Davis) is safe, thanks to a unanimous vote by the LA City Council to make the building an LA Historic-Cultural Landmark, the LA Times reports.
Historic-Cultural Monument status means that any attempt to raze the Norms building would have to go through city officials first, but that process usually just protects the outside of the building—it doesn't stop time inside. For many fans of the Norms, the structure and the 24-hour hash brown haven inside of it work in tandem to make the space special, but early development plans revealed in March signaled that the eatery inside of the now-landmarked building might be on the chopping block. Owner/developer Jason Illoulian (who bought the site last December) said that he'd like to keep "a 24-hour diner, whether it's Norms or 'someone else'" operating in the building. (His previous plans were to demolish Norms and build something mixed-use.)
Later that same month, long-time customers and others spoke at a press conference at Norms about the need to save the building. Among them was Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who said that, inside and out, Norms had an important place "in the imagination of Los Angeles." He also mentioned that he'd written the notes for the beginning of Mad Men there (the show just ended last weekend after seven seasons of filming around mid-century Los Angeles).
In the wake of the landmarking, though, the president of the Norms chain, Mike Colonna, says that he has been in talks with the landowners and feels "optimistic that the building's new status will not only preserve the architecture but a small business that is an important part of Los Angeles' culture." Still, it looks like there are no guarantees for Norms the diner just yet.
· Norms restaurant designated as L.A. historic monument [LAT]
· Development Plans Revealed For Famous La Cienega Norms [Curbed LA]
· Who Wants to Demolish the Famous La Cienega Norms? [Curbed LA]
· Iconic La Cienega Norms is Safe For at Least 75 More Days [Curbed LA]
· Demo Permit Issued For Flagship Norms Diner on La Cienega [Curbed LA]