A tribute to Los Angeles apartment signs

This story is part of Image #11, “Innovation”, where we explore the architecture of everyday life – and what it would look like to tear it all down. Read the full issue here.

LA’s visual language is written on the wall – in cursive; in the animated script, clumsy; in embossed cutout letters; in Comic Sans; in unbearable bright capital letters; in dark thought bubbles; in accented pen strokes with imperfect punctuation; and in fonts that can elevate the realm of calligraphy. You may not notice the different levels of emphasis but climb, descend, and reaching out to all sides of the apartment complexes in the city. But for sure, they guide you, help you to know exactly, where you are. LA apartment signs communicate location through subtlety, decadence, weirdness, absurdity, meaning. When you see an unremarkable name on a building in your neighborhood, you know – be it the exact number of steps or miles, if you count – how far away your intended destination is. . That’s the thing about LA apartment signs – they point you to where you need to go: home.

The sign of the apartment building has the words

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

The sign of the apartment building reads “Twin Palms 1033”

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

Despite their intentions, apartment signs are probably the least noticeable letters in LA. They really beg you to look at them. However, Angelenos often make conscious or subconscious decisions not to acknowledge their presence. Of course, it’s complicated. There are so many forms of invented surrealism that shine at us from the outside – and through the dominant narratives assembled by Hollywood – causing us to try to cut through the noise and get on with our day. We have much work to do. The places are. Traffic to enter our way to where we are going. But the signs show the promise of ecstasy from within. They are ready and inviting. The apartment signs are there for us if we should pay attention. They don’t force us into any unnecessary relationships. They seem to say, “There is no pressure. We are around. ”

The sign of the apartment building reads

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

The signboard of the apartment building has the content

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

The sign for the apartment building reads “Cedar Tropics 415.”

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

LA apartment signs speak for us, but most importantly, they speak for themselves. They’re like the man on the soapbox preaching to himself on Santa Monica and Western: They want to pique your interest with the gospel, but they won’t work for you; You must read and study the text for yourself. The apartment signs beckoned us to buy what they were selling. Sometimes it’s an idea or a story or an image. An aspirational way of life. Other times, the signs indicate a sensitivity, a way of being. Regardless of what the signs of hope say, they know that it takes a stylized and contented marriage to seal the deal. They understand balance.

The apartment building's sign reads

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

The signboard of the apartment building has the content

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

The apartment signs affect us because of the amount of effort put into the premise: Please stop, look, go inside, see if you want to belong here. There are implication included in the concept; The main attraction is that the elegance and originality of the exterior can signal the undeniable quality of the apartment inside. Suggestion is a powerful aphrodisiac anywhere, but especially in a town where the company is built on a sales image. The problem with the facades is that they are in the joke; they know what’s behind the curtain, or what’s not. Usually, those are lackluster accommodations. What does The Dunes promise? Sand. And yet, in “Insecure,” it brought something familiar to Issa and Lawrence: an architecture that could match their seductive flaws.

The signboard of the apartment building has the content

(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

Personally, I like to look at the outside because the initial encounter provides a path to the unseen. Outsides can deceive, they can dim, they can refract. They can also challenge you to work harder, seek, clarify, and understand. In my eyes, the signs show the audacity to announce that something exists, contrary to the city’s security trends. Private fences and areas with legs are not desirable because they are independent. They signal possession, accumulation. I don’t want you to see what I have. But the need for privacy doesn’t have to be synonymous with private property. The boxes on which the signs are written are private residences – but the signs connect the house to the community. Even if you don’t want to live in Vista View apartments because there is no view and no view and no one no view, you understand that the apartment – like the people inside – is part of a whole. So live long as the offer. Nothing says you’re here like an invitation to join. LA’s apartment sign is a smart welcome mat that tells you: You should stay.

More stories from Images

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/image/story/2022-05-18/los-angeles-architecture-appreciation-for-the-love-of-apartment-signs-a-tribute-to-overlooked-letters-dingbats A tribute to Los Angeles apartment signs

Russell Falcon

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