Some of the most significant points of reference in modern Los Angeles architecture show an indelible Italian mark through the material used for their making. Among these, two stand out for the specific and intentional use of the building material:
The Getty Center (1989–1997), designed by Richard Meyer, is clad in cleft-cut Italian travertine, a stone very used in Italy since ancient times. Many of the most famous Roman monuments are indeed made of this material, including the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Basilica. In Los Angeles, the ABC Entertainment Center is also faced with Italian travertine.
The 16,000 tons of travertine used for the Getty Center come from the marble quarry of the Bagni di Tivoli, 15 miles east of Rome, belonging to the Lippiello family. After the extraction the travertine was cut and polished from the Carlo Mariotti Company.
About three hundred thousand pieces of stone were used for facades and paving. The resulting stunning building rewards the choice of architect Meyer, who preferred travertine over many other types of stone for its capacity to absorb and reflect the light of California.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall at The Music Center (1988–2002) is a building designed by Frank O. Gehry which soon became the symbol of an innovative architectural conception. On the outside it is covered by 6,100 stainless steel panels, of which only 2,100 are identical, designed and produced by the Italian company Permasteelisa S.p.A, located in the Veneto Region.
The complex geometry has been created using computer numerically controlled equipment driven by the CATIA model.
The final effect reminds of an enchanted castle whose curvilinear shapes go through a constant metamorphosis reflecting prismatic light at different times of the day.