View through the sunroof | The Samsung Building

On the northeast corner of Wilshire & La Brea Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA stands the E. Clem Wilson Building, or what many may call, the Samsung Building. Named as such for the huge, unattractive blue box affixed atop of the building bearing the Samsung name.

Or rather, the-building-former-known-as-the-Samsung-Building.

2009-11_SAMSUNG

Taken prior to removal of lettering

Earlier this year, Samsung chose not to renew their advertising lease. Their signs “SAMSUNG” and “SAMSUNG mobile” were removed but the ghosted letters still remain. The electronic company held that spot on the E. Clem Wilson Building since the early 2000’s. Before that, signage was the Japanese beer label Asahi, and even before that, it was the Mutual of Omaha Tower since the 1970’s.

omaha

1978

I used to work just one block east from this intersection and I always wondered why that box was up there. It was functional as a landmark for giving directions but what was it’s real purpose? Was it hiding mechanical equipment? Damaged structure behind? Surely it could not have been placed there just for signage. But oh boy, was I wrong. Welcome to Los Angeles, where anything can be a canvas for advertising. I should have known better.

clem

Original building in all its glory! [ca. 1939]

  • Architect: Meyer & Holler (same firm that designed the infamous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as well as the Egyptian Theatre)
  • Built: 1929
  • Style: Art Deco: Zigzag Moderne
  • Floors: 12
  • Main Use: Commercial Office with Street Retail
1939 & 1978 Images via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection