When it came time to search for a new and larger office space in Los Angeles, Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht, principals of Commune, were drawn to a Spanish Colonial building at the center of Westlake where the multifaceted design firm could share a roof with like-minded creative practices, including an art gallery and a film production company. They then transformed a large portion of the upper floor into a visual testament to the collaboration undertaken by many skillful hands. “The studio itself,” Alonso told AN Interior, “carries this sense of community through the team that made it possible: our local millworkers, furniture makers, upholsterers, and artisans.” Custom-made lights, draperies, stained glass, and furniture, when assembled into a finely tailored whole, demonstrate the firm’s aesthetic range.
Everything from the paneling to the millwork, desks and shelving are crafted in Douglas fir, a hard-wearing wood chosen for its lasting quality when sanded smooth and finished with Rubio Monocoat. “It is known for its utility,” Alonso explained, “often used in framing throughout the building industry.” The species’ warm shades are contrasted by vibrant graphic posters staged within the white spaces and a solid oak flooring that will grow richer in dark tones as the studio ages.
Yet the office is more than just for showing clients their prowess. The layout of the main studio space allows the many facets of the design firm to operate together against the backdrop of a vast floor-to-ceiling materials library—realized in Douglas fir, of course—while parallel rows of desks lead up to the windows to grace the interior with copious natural light and views of nearby MacArthur Park. Along the opposite end, the offices for the partners are subdivided by shoji-like panels and naturally lit from above via skylights, which cast additional warmth onto the many tones of wood installed throughout this office interior.