Long missing from this discussion is a post about John Lautner’s most recognisable building – the groundbreaking, distinctive and iconic structure, The Chemosphere. Now an LA architectural landmark, the building has taken five decades to earn its status and has achieved it largely as a result of the film industry’s fascination with its futurist aesthetic. The house can be spotted in countless features on both the big and small screens and is referenced in many more - including Charlies Angels and the Iron Man series.
Perhaps the best use of the house is 1984’s Body Double starring Melanie Griffith. Certainly not looking its modernist best in the film (the house is completely refitted with gawdy 80’s décor), it is interestingly cast as an appealing residence for someone suffering from claustrophobia, a trait used to a murderer’s advantage as the plot develops. Perched on an extreme slope with 270 degree views overlooking the city of LA, the whole scenario would not quite have worked had the occupant been suffering from vertigo.
The house was purchased in the late 90’s by Benedikt Taschen, of the Taschen publishing house, who commissioned Escher GuneWardena Architecture to complete a full refurbishment to return the building to its former glory. Lucky them. They did a beautiful job.