Project in Detail
Los Angeles, United States of America
Ryan Beck - Ryan Beck Photography
For an established design firm with a 65-year portfolio of large-scale educational, healthcare, and institutional projects, their own recently completed downtown studio ushers in a bright new era. Strategically located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the new flagship studio is a hub for the firms’ growing client base—both national and international. Committed to design excellence and sustainable design, the studio encourages creativity and collaboration, reflecting the 450-person firm’s progressive identity.
Against an economical palette of painted drywall, matte and gloss white laminate, and a dark ground plane, the restrained use of more sophisticated materials seamlessly blend into the landscape. A sculptural wood folded plane in rift cut white oak and back-painted low iron glass forms the custom reception desk, setting the tone for finishes throughout the space. The entire studio sits on a five inch raised floor product made of recycled concrete, accommodating power and data in a flexible way while also implying a pedestal upon which design and collaboration occur. An impressive laminated glass wall from the previous tenant’s conference room was retained in the new design solution and provided inspiration for the color palette; the large space beyond was divided to create a new board room and training room. Dark walnut contrasts with gloss white laminate millwork and white tack able wall panels; a textural tone-on-tone carpet details adds visual texture.
Shifted, wrapped planes throughout the studio form and define spaces, implying a sense of motion and allowing brief glimpses to areas just out of view. Sliding tack panels allow for flexibility of the space, while providing a canvas to showcase drawings for critique and client presentations. In conference rooms and small private “phone booths,” frameless glass at the floor level gives the perception of an unlimited ground plane, extending well beyond the rooms’ physical boundaries.
Low-profile, linear workstations—modeled after benching configurations more commonly found in Europe than in the US—were arranged in an open floor plan, providing clear visibility across the 15,000-SF studio. With less surface area at each individual work space than the previous office offered, collaboration tables were placed within each cluster of workstations, encouraging group collaboration. Each work station is within sight of the exterior windows; highly efficient LED task lighting supplements the abundant natural lighting. Exceptionally ergonomic seating in workstations and conference rooms echoes the firm’s commitment to employee comfort; the chair’s Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certification, recycled content, and sustainable manufacturing process align with the firm’s commitment to the environment.
The mostly white studio is animated with punches of color throughout – sliding tack panels reveal the company’s branded color; a white folded plane is layered against a dark accent wall. The palette is amplified in the technical and interior material libraries—traditionally large, messy spaces—where tailored gloss and matte white casework comes to life, revealing interior panels of exotic burled bubinga veneer behind one door, surprising hot pink, orange, or blue accents behind others. Fold down work tables provide standing height touch down spaces while custom floor cushions encourage designers to work in a less structured way.
In a break with corporate culture, the company elected to eliminate any private offices from the design solution. Principals, project managers, designers, and interns work side by side in the new space. Smaller “phone booth” rooms are located throughout the studio, providing a place for more private conversations or conference calls. Each has its own distinct accent color layered with white tack able wall surfaces, maximizing their use for project or team meetings. The new studio offers more seating for group collaboration than at individual work stations—further encouraging designers to step away from the confines of their desks, and engage each other in impromptu design collaboration.
LEED-CI Certification is in process with the continued support of the design and construction team.
Mr Gary Conrad
Howard Building Corporation
United States of America