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Palmerston recalled: They were pretty tough conditions, I can tell you. We couldn’t get timber, but we gradually started to make a few. ... They were pretty rough old bloody chairs because we only had three tradesmen, the rest of them were labourers we got off the bloody streets and we had to teach them. If you got hold of a tradesmen, it was like gold. If you got hold of a machinist, it was like platinum. Once I got impatient and tried to do machining, but I lost the tip of my thumb. Following this promising start to his post–war career, Snelling decided to take Nancy to Los Angeles, where he saw potential to initiate a career in architecture. He also was invited to the City of Angels by an international lecturer and professional player of bridge, Joe Gordon Allard, who had befriended him on a cruise ship (perhaps the 1940 trip to Indonesia and Malaya). Allard now lived with his partner, Kenton Andrews, on Balboa Island, off the coast of southern California. They offered the Snellings stylish hospitality and international gossip about the indulgences of well–known people. From interviews with Nancy, the Snellings arrived in Los Angeles in late 1947 and rented an inexpensive walk–up apartment in a private hotel behind the Biltmore (downtown). After showing around his Ray Leighton photos of the Sydney interior fitouts and furniture, Douglas obtained a job with Beverley Hills architects Douglas Honnold and Associates. His new boss had been a set designer for Metro Goldwyn Mayer in the 1920s and made his name in housing design as co–architect (with Cedric Gibbons) of film star Delores del Rio’s mansion in Santa Monica Canyon (1929). By the late 1940s, Honnold’s office was designing vulgar retail, leisure and hospitality pavilions—ostentatious icons at street intersections. This was the latest wave in a Los Angeles tendency to develop theme buildings. It thrived from the early 1920s to the late 1960s (including many exemplars at Disneyland). Forties examples have been labelled Coffee Shop Modern or Extreme Modernism but the most famous example of the genre—Googie’s coffee shop in West Hollywood (1949)—provided the familiar name for the movement’s post–war phase. Googie’s was designed by John Lautner, an ex–employee of Wright’s, who was romancing Elizabeth Gilmon Honnold (Honnold’s first wife and later Lautner’s second wife) at the time when Snelling worked in Los Angeles. Although Nancy did not recall Lautner, Snelling possibly met him on this trip. trends in retail interiors and shopfronts. It seems likely that he selected his ideas from imported magazines and a 1945 book called Contemporary Shops in the United States. This 216–page portfolio compiled by Emrich Nicholson was filled with black and white photographs of outstanding new retail venues. It was intended to provide new ideas to international designers and architects of retail environments after the war. From photographs in the Nicholson book compared with Snelling’s interiors, it seems likely that some of his designs were influenced by Morris Ketchum Jr (Lilian Park Avenue fashion shop, New York), Guen and Krummeck (candy store in Brooklyn), Ernst Payer (Morristown sports shop), Morris Lapidus (Brooklyn shoe shop and Forsythe Shop in Louisville) and Raymond Loewy (L. Bamberger & Co, Newark). All of these Americans updated the popular curves of the 1930s with gestures of extreme irregularity: wavy walls and ceilings, amoebic shapes and organic forms. Snelling never emulated any entire interior—he selected some strategies and techniques to develop his own schemes. Until the 1990s, all Australian architects and designers were influenced by foreign ideas; sometimes adapting them to suit local climates and geographic conditions and vernacular precedents. An astute self–publicist, Snelling arranged for leading interiors photographer Ray Leighton to record his early fitouts—and the images supported multi–page articles in a visual arts magazine of the late 1940s: Decoration and Glass. Also in 1947, Snelling linked with three commercially ambitious ex–servicemen—Terry Palmerston, Doug Davidson and Bob Shaw— to form a company that would manufacture and nationally market his Risom–style chair and later furniture designs (some inspired by other Knoll models designed by American architect Ralph Rapson). Terry Palmerston, the entrepreneur who drove their venture, Functional Products Pty Ltd, remembered before his death in 2003 that: We said look, we’ll form a company and we’ll make the Snelling chair. Because there was a market. But for a long time,, we were in a lot of trouble because people would say ‘what is functional?’ ... bloody people were ignorant. They didn’t know what functional was. We let a contract to build a building ... I had a terrible sketch of the place but Doug Snelling did a spruce–up facelift. Palmerston had been making radio cabinets at premises in Newtown and already owned a block of land at 243–247 Princes Highway, St Peters. Snelling’s simple design for the Functional DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 42 43 1940–1955 1940–1955