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Commerce Aggressively Advances at the Citadel

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"Kinetic advertising" seems to be on a roll in Los Angeles over the past few years. Hollywood and Highland, Sunset Boulevard at Kings Road, and the Aroma Wilshire Center have adopted the advertising medium that makes us wonder if Blade Runner wasn’t entirely so far-fetched after all.

Now it appears the Citadel in City of Commerce is the next site positioned to attract bored eyeballs that crave pumped up lights and action. This move is part of a $50-million-plus overhaul of the outlet mall, which is situated within the stupendous (and already pretty damn visually prominent) Assyrian Revival style structure that served as the Samson Tire & Rubber Company factory. This massive complex, described by Gebhard and Winter as "an architectural wonder of Los Angeles," was built in 1929-30 and designed by the preeminent firm of Morgan, Walls and Clements.

Commuters caught in snarled traffic along the 5 will be dazzled by the "freeway fashion show," should they need more ways to think of disposing of that paycheck they’ve spent all day or night earning. Caltrans can ask for modifications if the medium and the messages prove to be dangerously distracting to drivers.

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It's hard to imagine this addition not having a negative impact on this historic site when the inaugural use of the screens begins tonight. And if only instead of telling the insipid "story of the fashion behind the wall," the short narratives could focus on the history of this magnificent structure, working people in Los Angeles, and the evolution of manufacturing in the Los Angeles region. But much like the imposing figures depicted on the primary façades of the building, the forces of commerce march on in the, well, City of Commerce.

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