Saturday, April 05, 2008
In a small run down shopping center in Altadena CA (that's immediately to the north of Pasadena) there is a familiar bit of American architecture - the drive-through kiosk. This one had been a photo developing business named FotoBuster- now out of business. Another vicitim of digital photography. I've driven by this spot dozens of times.
What I never noticed about the FotoBuster kiosk until Friday was the strange and wonderful mosaic decorations of the building. Random odd shapes and bright colors are interrupted by the occasional ceramic face or turtle. Some artist must have spent a long time tiling this little building. I found one online reference to it, this post at the blog L.A. Snapshot.
If you're not interested in the kiosk or mosaics it is highly recommended that you try the frozen goodies at Bulgarini Gelato, nestled in a corner of this same shopping center. It's near the corner of Lake and Altadena avenues.
I wonder if there's a word to describe this individualist style of decoration. On Wikipedia the Watts Towers is called "vernacular architecture" - but in this case the actual building is entirely normal, only the tiles are unique. I have no clue who did this or why or what the residents of the area think of it or whether the local preservation groups think it worth preservating.
I'm pretty sure the thing that looks like a cow's head is just residue of the glue from a former sign. Below the picture of the turtle sculpture is a long composite panorama of the north curb of the kiosk. You can see the turtle at the right end. The panorama picture is 10 times wider than it is high. Click any picture for an enlargement.
Tile Tags: FotoBuster. . . kiosk. . . mosaic. . . vernacular architecture. . . Altadena. . . Bulgarini gelato